OMG, this is so funny

A while ago I read David Mamet’s ALL CAPS MEMO and as with most people, thought it was brilliant. But there was one part that kept bothering me. A bit of advice Mamet gives that sounds brilliant but at the same time sounded totally wrong. And suddenly, a few moments ago, it dawned on me that this part of the memo was A BIG FAT JOKE.

In the Memo written to the writing staff of a failing TV show, Mamet says:

HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

Ha. Two words: American Buffalo.

An entire play about two characters talking about a third. You’ve been had, ALL CAPS MEMO READERS!!!

Comments

  1. #1 Karen
    March 29, 2010

    Hah, brilliant! I love Mamet’s plays (American Buffalo was the subject for one of my final essays in my advanced critical theory class last year), but somehow missed this memo entirely. As someone who’s read a LOT of theatrical manifestos, the whole thing reads as hilariously tongue-in-cheek. My favourite line has to be this:

    “SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS YOUR JOB”

    I’ll have to email my Directing II professor to let her know that the director’s job is simply to remind the actors to talk fast.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    March 29, 2010

    I loved that part about talking fast.

  3. #3 Comrade PhysioProf
    March 29, 2010

    Imagine how much funnier that would be than it already is if we knew all the inside jokes?

  4. #4 Ernie Bornheimer
    April 23, 2010

    No, Mamet meant what he said, and he’s not being a hypocrite. If the author has two characters talking about a third character for the purpose of revealing their character (as in American Buffalo or Waiting for Godot), that’s fine. It stinks only when they are talking about a third character to fill the audience in about that third character. In that case, the author is telling and not showing. Good writing will illustrate a point, but rarely explain it.

Current ye@r *