It's Mamet, Dammit! | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

It's Mamet, Dammit! 

IT'S MAMET, DAMMIT! A Sense of Urgency Productions, at the O Bar & Cafe. Reading Goldberg Street--David Mamet's 1985 collection of brief sketches and even briefer monologues from which A Sense of Urgency has culled an evening--is a bit like going through the receiving line at a wedding. You meet a whole bunch of potentially fascinating people in far too short a time, you can't keep any of them straight, and soon you've lost them in the crowd anyway.

Still, flashes of Mamet are better than sustained bouts of most other playwrights, and director Edwin A. Wilson has mounted a clear and enjoyable if somewhat stilted show. His ace in the hole is Mary Griffin, the kind of actor perfectly suited to Mamet's spartan, elliptical texts. With her dogged directness and supple intuition she's able to negotiate the most circuitous of Mamet's psychological landscapes; whether trying on a new overcoat in a department store, struggling to convince her lover not to slug her, or simply listening to a man describe his father's poor eating habits, Griffin creates moments that are, in Mamet's words, "unlivably effective and true." By comparison her three male cohorts (Wilson, Wayne Camp, and Ray Kasper) are generally too broad and overeager to bring out the drama lurking in the inconspicuous corners of Mamet's imagination.

--Justin Hayford

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