Follow by Email

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shuffle Off to 'Buffalo'? Maybe After You've Seen "Pretty'

I found my old Playbill from around 1982 for American Buffalo at the Circle in The Square Downtown in New York. It starred Al Pacino as Teach. Almost 30 years later the Studio Theater has revived the tale of three small-time hoods as Joy Zinoman's departing directorial effort ad Studio chief. Playwright David Mamet has gone on to fame with plays such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, and films like Spanish Prisoner and State and Main (rent if you haven't seen). The play remains effective - the Waiting-for-Godot, Abbott-and-Costello rhythmic dialogue entertains in the first act - but the production doesn't really soar until the second.  And even then it's tense but not stirring. I'm not sure if it's the production or the play; I would guess that the play needs star power and Pacino brought it. Edward Gero makes a very effective Donny, but Peter Allas's Teach is hard to warm up to. It's a tough role - as the heavy but a sort-of likeable one. Having seen Glengarry Glen Ross a few years ago on Broadway with Liev Shreiber and Alan Alda, I would say that play sizzles a bit more. But the Mamet-ian dialogue, rapid, circular and beautifully paced, can be a treat to listen to.
If you haven't caught Reasons to Be Pretty at Studio, I would head there first. Fortunately it has been extended at least another couple weeks. An assistant at Studio told us that someone tried to figure out which play had more curse words. It was pretty close. 'Pretty's' first scene might win by itself. Its second act is still the best thing in Washington right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment