Three Uses of the Knife
On the Nature and Purpose of Drama
By David Mamet
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375704239, 96pp.)
Publication Date: June 13, 2000
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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The purpose of theater, like magic like religion…ids to inspire cleansing awe. With bracing directness and aphoristic authority, one of our greatest living playwrights addresses the questions: What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? David Mamet believes that the tendency to dramatize is essential to human nature, that we create drama out of everything from today’s weather to next year’s elections. But the highest expression of this drive remains the theater.
With a cultural range that encompasses Shakespeare, Bretcht, and Ibsen, Death of a Salesman and Bad Day at Black Rock, Mamet shows us how to distinguish true drama from its false variants. He considers the impossibly difficult progression between one act and the next and the mysterious function of the soliloquy. The result, in Three Uses of the Knife, is an electrifying treatise on the playwright’s art that is also a strikingly original work of moral and aesthetic philosophy.
David Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947. He studied at Goddard College in Vermont and at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York. He has taught at Goddard College, the Yale Drama School, and New York University, and lectures at the Atlantic Theater Company, of which he is a founding member. He is the author of the acclaimed plays The Cryptogram, Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. He has also written screenplays for such films as House of Games and the Oscar-nominated The Verdict, as well as The Spanish Prisoner, The Winslow Boy, and Wag the Dog. His plays have won the Pulitzer Prize and the Obie Award.
"[Mamet] brings his usual passion and provocation to his treatise on what makes good drama." --Vanity Fair
"No modern playwright has been bolder or more brilliant." --The New Yorker
"Pinter, Albee, Miller. They're all looking over Mamet's shoulder." --New York
"David Mamet adds yet another segment to a body of work that puts him among the great writers of this, or any other, time." --Joe Mantegna