Written by David Mamet
Broadway's Schoenfeld Theatre
Going to see Broadway revivals can be hard enough without having to revisit plays you weren't that fond of to begin with. That was my attitude walking into the theater for this new production of David Mamet's 1977 play, which was a somewhat anticlimactic followup to his first big success, American Buffalo. Yet what seemed a rather formulaic two-hander back then, about an older actor and his young protégé, now seems a more delicate evocation of the absurdity and sadness of the actor's life. One reason may be the improved cast: Patrick Stewart as the pompous vet and T.R. Knight (of Grey's Anatomy) as the young gun play off each other like a seasoned vaudeville team. Mamet's short, fragmentary scenes which alternate between satirical snippets of the cliched warhorses the duo appear in, and their backstage conversations, which reveal the shifting dynamics of the relationship remind us of how subtly Mamet at his best could reveal nuances of character behind the flow of constant, seemingly banal verbiage.