The thrill of the heist is often at the core of David Mamet's finest works. From the shady real estate salesmen of "Glengarry Glen Ross" to the
In his breakthrough "American Buffalo," which debuted on
Slyly orchestrated by
Clad in a period-perfect rust-colored polyester leisure suit, Carpenter prowls into a ramshackle
This is capitalism as blood sport, and the palpable hint of menace is what makes this two-act testosterone standoff so timely and urgent in today's volatile economy. One of the Pulitzer-winning playwright's gifts is his revealing insights into the nuances of the art of the swindle from the bottom rungs to the big leagues.
The amount of money involved here is likely quite modest, but that fact never deters these small-time crooks because they live so close to the edge that every dollar lands with impact in their frayed wallets.
Teach thinks he sees a way to get on top, and the predatory gleam in Carpenter's eyes is unmistakable. He's a hustler gone to seed and when he tries to horn in on Donny (the deft
All three men share a real fondness for their little tribe of connivers and hoods (several other characters are mentioned but never appear on stage), but when there is the faintest whiff of a profit to be made, humanity turns out to be a house of cards destined to fall.
Everyone's a mark in a world where affection is weakness, integrity is obsolete and grifters are always on the make.
Damashek is an astute director, and her finesse with Mamet's staccato cadence gives this sleek two-hour revival its bracing power. Even if you have seen this American classic before, this tale of a big con gone awry will punch you in the gut. Hard.
Running time: 2 hours,
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