The Old Neighborhood
By David Mamet
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679746522, 112pp.)
Publication Date: February 17, 1998
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In The Old Neighborhood David Mamet confirms his stature as a master of the American stage, a writer who can turn the most innocuous phrase into a lit fuse and a family reunion into a perfectly orchestrated firestorm of sympathy, yearning, and blistering authentic rage.
In these three short plays, a middle-aged Bobby Gould returns to the old-neighborhood in a series of encounters with his past that, however briefly, open windows on his present. In "The Disappearance of the Jews," Bobby and an old buddy fantasize about finding themselves in a nostalgic shtetl paradise while revealing how lost they are in their own families. In the comfort of her kitchen, Bobby's sister "Jolly" unscrolls a list of childhood grievances that is at nice painful and hilarious. And the old girlfriend in "Deeny," faced with a man she once loved, finds herself obsessively free-associating on gardening, sex, and subatomic particles. Swerving from comedy to terror, from tenderness to anguish—with a swiftness that unsettles even as it strikes home—The Old Neighborhood is classic Mamet.
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 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, His plays have won the Pulitzer Prize and the Obie Award.
“Searing…heart-piercing…haunting and original…[Mamet’s] most emotionally accessible drama to date,”—The New York Times
“Elegant and beautiful…David Mamet’s autobiographical play is full of laughter and lament.”—The New Yorker
“[Mamet’s] most personal, haunted and haunting play.”—Newsday
“Riveting… luminous…beautifully rendered…a significant development in Mamet’s career.”—San Francisco Examiner