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1.United States playwright (born in 1947)
auteur de théâtre (fr)[Classe]
David Mamet (n.)
Mamet at the premiere of Redbelt
November 30, 1947 |
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Occupation||Author, playwright, screenwriter, film director|
|Notable work(s)||Duck Variations (1971)
Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974)
American Buffalo (1975)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1984)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
House of Games (1987)
The Untouchables (1987)
The Unit (2006)
|Spouse(s)||Lindsay Crouse (1977–1990; 2 children, including Zosia)
Rebecca Pidgeon (1991–present; 2 children)
Best known as a playwright, Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and received a Tony nomination for Glengarry Glen Ross (1984). He also received a Tony nomination for Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (1982) and Wag the Dog (1997). Mamet's books include: The Old Religion (1997), a novel about the lynching of Leo Frank; Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (2004), a Torah commentary with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner; The Wicked Son (2006), a study of Jewish self-hatred and antisemitism; and Bambi vs. Godzilla, a commentary on the movie business.
Mamet was born in 1947 in Chicago to Jewish parents, Lenore June (Silver), a teacher, and Bernard Morris Mamet, an attorney. One of his first jobs was as a busboy at Chicago's The Second City. He was educated at the progressive Francis W. Parker School and at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
Mamet is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company; he first gained acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway plays in 1976, The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which received its first Broadway revival in the summer of 2005. His play Race, which opened on Broadway on December 6, 2009 and featured James Spader, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, and Richard Thomas in the cast, received mixed reviews. Mamet received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for Grand Master of American Theater in 2010.
Mamet's first produced screenplay was the 1981 production of The Postman Always Rings Twice (directed by Bob Rafelson), based upon James M. Cain's novel. He received an Academy Award nomination one year later for his first script, The Verdict, written in the late 1970s. He also wrote the screenplay for The Untouchables.
In 1987, Mamet made his film directing debut with House of Games, starring his then-wife, Lindsay Crouse, and a host of longtime stage associates. He uses friends as actors, especially in one early scene in the movie, which featured Vermont poker playing friends. He is quoted as saying, "It was my first film as a director and I needed support, so I stacked the deck." Two of the four poker friends included in the film were fellow Goddard College graduates Allen Soule and Bob Silverstein. Three of Mamet's own films, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, and Heist, have involved the world of con artists.
Mamet remains a prolific writer and director, and has assembled an informal repertory company for his films, including Crouse, William H. Macy, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Ricky Jay, as well as some of the aforementioned poker associates. Mamet funds his own films with the payments he receives for credited and uncredited rewrites of typically big-budget films. For instance, Mamet did a rewrite of the script for Ronin under the pseudonym "Richard Weisz" and turned in an early version of a script for Malcolm X that director Spike Lee rejected. In 2000, Mamet directed a film version of Catastrophe, a one-act play by Samuel Beckett featuring Harold Pinter and John Gielgud (in his final screen performance). In 2008, he directed and wrote the mixed martial arts movie Redbelt, about a martial arts instructor tricked into fighting in a professional bout. Mamet teamed up with his wife Rebecca Pidgeon to adapt the novel Come Back to Sorrento as a screenplay. The film was in development during 2010.
In On Directing Film, Mamet iterates the objectivity of filmmaking. He believes meaning is found in juxtaposing cuts, and that when shooting a scene, the director should consistently follow the point of the scene. He doesn't believe film should follow the protagonist or consist of visually beautiful or intriguing shots, but should be focused getting a point across in an essential and necessary way. He wants his films to be shaped by logical ways of creating order from disorder in search of the superobjective. Mamet believes in minimal stage and prompt directions.
In 1990 Mamet published The Hero Pony, a 55-page collection of poetry. He has also published a series of short plays, monologues and three novels, The Village (1994), The Old Religion (1997), and Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources (2000). He has written several non-fiction texts, and children's stories. In 2004 he published a lauded version of the classical Faust story, Faustus, however, the play, when staged in San Francisco during the spring of 2004, was not well received by critics. On May 1, 2010, Mamet released a graphic novel The Trials of Roderick Spode (The Human Ant).
On June 2, 2011, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture", Mamet's book detailing his conversion from modern liberalism to "a reformed liberal" (libertarian) was released.
Mamet wrote the "Wasted Weekend" episode of Hill Street Blues that aired in 1987. His then-wife, Lindsay Crouse, appeared in numerous episodes (including that one) as Officer McBride. Mamet is also the creator, producer and frequent writer of the television series The Unit, and he directed a third season episode of The Shield with Shawn Ryan. In 2007, Mamet directed two television commercials for Ford Motor Company. The two 30-second ads featured the Ford Edge and were filmed in Mamet's signature style of fast-paced dialogue and clear, simple imagery. Mamet's sister, Lynn, is a producer and writer for television shows, such as The Unit and Law & Order.
Mamet has also contributed several dramas to BBC Radio through Jarvis & Ayres Productions, including an adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross for BBC Radio 3 and new dramas for BBC Radio 4. The comedy Keep Your Pantheon, (or On the Whole I'd Rather Be in Mesopotamia) was aired in 2007.
Since May 2005 he has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post, including having drawn satirical cartoons with themes including political strife in Israel. A conservative, Mamet has expressed his support for Sarah Palin, and spoken in interviews of changes in his political positions, highlighting his belief in free market theorists such as Friedrich Hayek the historian Paul Johnson, and economist Thomas Sowell, whom Mamet called "one of our greatest minds."
During promotion of a book, Mamet was criticised for claiming that the British people had "a taint of anti-semitism", claiming they "want to give [Israel] away". In the same interview, Mamet goes on to say that "there are famous dramatists and novelists [in the UK] whose works are full of anti-Semitic filth", but that he could not specify to whom he was referring for fear of litigation. Known for his pro-Israel positions, in his book The Secret Knowledge he states that "the Israelis would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all".
Mamet's style of writing dialogue, marked by a cynical, street-smart edge, precisely crafted for effect, is so distinctive that it has come to be called Mamet speak. He often uses italics and quotation marks to highlight particular words and to draw attention to his characters' frequent manipulation and deceitful use of language. His characters frequently interrupt one another, their sentences trail off unfinished, and their dialogue overlaps. Moreover, certain expressions and figures of speech are deliberately misrepresented to show that the character is not paying close attention to every detail of his dialogue (e.g., or so forth instead of and so forth). Mamet himself has criticized his (and other writers') tendency to write "pretty" at the expense of sound, logical plots.
When asked how he developed his style for writing dialogue, Mamet said, "In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, based solely on our ability to speak the language viciously. That's probably where my ability was honed."
One classic instance of Mamet's dialogue style can be found in Glengarry Glen Ross, in which two down-on-their-luck real estate salesmen are considering breaking into their employer's office to steal a list of good sales leads. George Aaronow and Dave Moss equivocate on the meaning of "talk" and "speak," turning language and meaning to deceptive purposes:
Mamet dedicated Glengarry Glen Ross to Harold Pinter, who was instrumental in its being first staged at the Royal National Theatre, (London) in 1983, and whom Mamet has acknowledged as an influence on its success, and on his other work.
Mamet and actress Lindsay Crouse were married in 1977 and divorced in 1990. He and Crouse have two children together, Willa and Zosia. Willa is a professional photographer and Zosia is an actress. Mamet has been married to actress and singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon since 1991. They have two children, Clara and Noah.
|1970||Lakeboat (revised 1980)|
|1972||The Duck Variations, Lone Canoe|
|1974||Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Squirrels|
|1976||Reunion, The Water Engine|
|1977||A Life in the Theatre|
|1978||Revenge of the Space Pandas, or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock, Mr. Happiness|
|1979||The Woods, The Blue Hour|
|1981||The Postman Always Rings Twice|
|1983||The Frog Prince|
|1984||Glengarry Glen Ross|
|1985||The Shawl, Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues|
|1986||The Poet & The Rent||About Last Night...|
|1987||House of Games (director), The Untouchables, Black Widow||Writing in Restaurants|
|1988||Speed-the-Plow||Things Change (director)|
|1989||Bobby Gould In Hell||We're No Angels|
|1992||Oleanna||Hoffa (producer), Glengarry Glen Ross||On Directing Film, The Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions|
|1994||Oleanna (director), Vanya on 42nd Street||The Village|
|1996||American Buffalo||Make-Believe Town: Essays and Remembraces
Three Uses of the Knife
|1997||The Old Neighborhood||Wag the Dog, The Spanish Prisoner (director), The Edge||The Old Religion|
|1999||Boston Marriage||The Winslow Boy (director)||True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
The Chinaman (poems)
Jafsie and John Henry: Essays
|2000||Lakeboat, State and Main (director)||Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources|
|2001||Hannibal, Heist (director)|
|2002||South of the Northeast Kingdom|
|2005||Romance, The Voysey Inheritance (adapted)||Edmond|
|2006||The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews|
|2007||Keep Your Pantheon
|Bambi Vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business|
|2008||The Vikings and Darwin (commissioned by the National Theatre Connections project)||A Waitress in Yellowstone (musical),
* Redbelt (writer, director)
*Keep your Pantheon
|The Prince of Providence (writer)|
|2010||Come Back to Sorrento (Screenplay)||*Theatre (book)
*The Trials of Roderick Spode (The Human Ant) (Graphic Novel)
|2011||The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: David Mamet|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: David Mamet|