Tuesday, June 16, 2009


"By his mid-twenties, Mamet was teaching acting and directing students in this own plays. He developed his hugely influential theory that actors should 'Just say the words' and fined his students for every minute they were late, then burned the money in front of them; this was partly intended to illustrate his commitment to his art. Outside class, he smoked cigars, played pool, developed a fascination with guns and knives, and learned how to play (and cheat at) cards. He also got a crew cut, which he called 'an honest haircut. It is the haircut of an honest, two pair of jeans working man - a man from Chicago, a man without vanity whose being stands without need of either introduction or apology. That blue-jeans sort of guy is me'. At twenty-six, he walked into Gregory Mosher's office with his manuscript, announcing 'Something for your next season'. Mosher promised to read it. Just do it', said Mamet, adding 'I'll put five grand in escrow, and if the play doesn't win the Pulitzer, keep the money'. Mosher read it - and did it - and while the play (American Buffalo) didn't win the Pulitzer, Mamet would win it ten years later, with Glengarry Glen Ross."

From Samantha Ellis' review of Ira Nadel's David Mamet: A life in the theatre, Times Literary Supplement, June 5, 2009, p. 30.