Saturday, June 11, 2011

David Mamet Seems To Enjoy Holding Court Now

This time for the British Financial Times reporter John Gapper.

There isn't much new in this interview. However, I get the feeling Mamet seems to be enjoying this attention he is getting for his recent conversion to conservatism.

Here, the famous playwright is asked by the reporter if anyone disputing Israel's land claims and believing in reallocation to the Palestinians is anti-Semitic:

Uncharacteristically, Mamet hesitates slightly as he starts to answer and I wonder if he will back down, or at least hedge his answer. "Well, at some level ... listen ..." He throws his head back and looks briefly at the ceiling before emitting a grunt of relief as he abandons caution.

"Yes!" he exclaims. "Of course! I mean you Brits ... " He smiles ruefully. "I love the British. Whatever education I have comes from reading your writers and yet, time and time again, for example reading Trollope, there is the stock Jew. Even in George Eliot, God bless her. And the authors of today ... I'm not going to mention names because of your horrendous libel laws but there are famous dramatists and novelists over there whose works are full of anti-Semitic filth.


As far as artistic content, this interview has only a few lines regarding any theory or advice.

Unlike his pretty ridiculous theories about acting, Mamet is always succinct, understandable, (though pretty obvious,) and workman-like when he offers up tips about dramatic writing.

Case in point:

I take the opportunity of having this master craftsman in front of me to ask about writing. He commences by defining where others go wrong. "Anyone can write five people trapped in a snowstorm. The question is how you get them into the snowstorm. It's hard to write a good play because it's hard to structure a plot. If you can think of it off the top of your head, so can the audience. To think of a plot that is, as Aristotle says, surprising and yet inevitable, is a lot, lot, lot of work."


For more reading, here is a roundup of two theatre blogger reactions to Mamet's recent statements about liberalism and conservatism.

1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

Ironically, the only thing Mamet actually says that John Gapper makes a point of telling us he finds offensive, that is, that there are members of today's British literary establishment who are openly anti-Semitic, is probably the only thing Mamet does get right. But that gets back to the problem with Mamet: he has a wonderful intuitive grasp of humanity at it's most base, but he lacks the analytical tools of a political thinker: he's not even an interesting conservative.

Of course I have to wonder at Gapper's own weird attitude towards Jews which seem bent on equating American Jewry with the Republican party when voting patterns show quite the opposite to be the case (much to Mamet's consternation.)