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Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Dramaby David Mamet
Synopses & Reviews
What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? With bracing directness and aphoristic grace, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross delivers a thrillingly original treatise on his art.
To David Mamet, human beings are drama-creating animals who impose narrative structures on everything from today's weather to next year's elections. Mamet distinguishes true drama from its false variants, unravels the infamous "Second-Act Problem," amd considers the mysterious persistence of the soliloquy. Three Uses of the Knife is an inspired guide for any playwright or theatergoer that doubles as a trenchant work of moral and aesthetic philosophy.
"[Mamet] brings his usual passion and provocation to his treatise on what makes good drama." Vanity Fair
"No modern playwright has been bolder or more brilliant." The New Yorker
"Pinter, Albee, Miller. They're all looking over Mamet's shoulder." New York
"David Mamet adds yet another segment to a body of work that puts him among the great writers of this, or any other, time." Joe Mantegna
The purpose of theater, like magic like religion…ids to inspire cleansing awe. With bracing directness and aphoristic authority, one of our greatest living playwrights addresses the questions: What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? David Mamet believes that the tendency to dramatize is essential to human nature, that we create drama out of everything from today’s weather to next year’s elections. But the highest expression of this drive remains the theater.
With a cultural range that encompasses Shakespeare, Bretcht, and Ibsen, Death of a Salesman and Bad Day at Black Rock, Mamet shows us how to distinguish true drama from its false variants. He considers the impossibly difficult progression between one act and the next and the mysterious function of the soliloquy. The result, in Three Uses of the Knife, is an electrifying treatise on the playwright’s art that is also a strikingly original work of moral and aesthetic philosophy.
About the Author
David Mamet has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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