Sunday, November 02, 2008

American Buffalo (play)

American Buffalo is a groundbreaking 1976 play by American playwright David Mamet. A Broadway revival begins performances October 31, 2008 with John Leguizamo, Cedric the Entertainer, and Haley Joel Osment starring.

The play concerns a team of men, Don, Teach, Bob, and Fletcher (who does not appear in the play, but is referred to), who are conspiring to steal a coin collection from a wealthy man. Don, who owns a junk shop, sold a nickel to a man for much less than what it was worth. Out of revenge, he and his friend-in-training, Bob, plan to steal the man's coin collection after suspecting that he went away for the weekend. Teach, an experienced and misanthropic friend of Don's, persuades Don to release Bob from the job because of what Teach feels is inexperience and potential disloyalty. Towards the end of the play, Bob, out of a need for money, attempts to sell Don a rare nickel, similar to the one Don sold. In a culmination of anger, Teach hits Bob on the head, believing that he stole the coin back and betrayed them. Fletcher, the outside man who never appeared in the play, ends up getting mugged and beaten by thugs. The play ends with the plan called off, and Don and Bob making amends.

Apropos to Mamet's writing style, the play is very terse and vulgar. Teach uses the word "cunt" numerous times and all three of them use the word "Fuck" quite loosely. There are not many monologues and the parentheticals are very straightforward, without any line readings.