Spectators, Actors and the American Dramatic Text
Edited By Barbara Ozieblo and María Dolores Narbona-Carrión
Mamet’s Actors. A Life in the Theatre and Other Writings on the Art of Acting 251
Mamet’s Actors A Life in the Theater and Other Writings on the Art of Acting Jerry DICKEY University of Arizona In the introduction to his 1989 collection of essays titled Some Freaks, David Mamet ruminates on one of theater’s most legendary anecdotes: the infamous eighteen-hour coffee conversation between Constantin Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. This conversation, of course, not only cemented an artistic partnership be- tween the two men, but also proved the birthing place of that most- influential of modern theater companies, the Moscow Art Theatre. Writing a century after this marathon exchange, Mamet admits that its locale, the Moscow emporium called the Slavyansky Bazaar, has always served as a “talisman” for him throughout his career. “There, at the Slavyansky Bazaar,” he writes: it seemed to me, were all the good things in life […] good food, good con- versation, alcohol and tobacco […] the feeling that the universe had a plan for one, and that one was setting about on that marvelous adventure filled with both the virile certainty of risk and danger, and the unspeakable com- fort of ordination. “Yes,” the men said to each other. “Yes. Isn’t life like that…?” And I held that picture as a beautiful dream, and have been privi- leged to partake of it from time to time. (ix-x; the emphasis here and in all subsequent quotations is Mamet’s.) This dream, for Mamet, represents a seamless union between theater and life. It is an artistic vision that posits the theater not as a mirror to...
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