The Cryptogram by David Mamet

Can't say I truly understood what this book was about. I didn't read it as child's coming of age or betrayal related to family breakup, as some reviews claimed.

It seems I am falling out of grace with Mamet – second play in a row that I don't like much. Frankly, Keep Your Pantheon one was funnier and easier to dig.

I reckon I should stop reading his drama and start hitting the theater more often – sad no Mamet available in Moscow though.

Or audio books. Downloaded Speed the Plow for Kindle – will see how it goes.

P.S. Am reading Bambi vs. Godzilla in parallel – also, not an easy read, though it's non-fiction – but it has it's moments, I guess.

 


Keep Your Pantheon (and School): Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet

You have to agree – the title is a smart-ass pun of words, huh?

Keep Your Pantheon is Mamet's 2008 play about a troupe of poor Roman actors struggling to make a buck (well, a few hundred sesterces) and keep not even their pants – their heads on.

Frankly, as much as I like Mamet (by all means, the man is a great playwright), while the book is quite readable (and, god is merciful, short: just 70 pages), it's just not as much fun as, say, Glengarry Glen Ross or Oleanna or even more recent Race.

It is witty and it is about ancient Rome, a very trendy topic recently, but not something I could relate to in full. It probably had something to do with the fact that I view Mamet as a quite contemporary author, and all his attempts at pre-XXth century settings are not exactly my favorites, movies inclusive – take The Winslow Boy, for example – weak.

School is way too short – plus it lacks a meaningful story for me to like it – thought it had a funny quote for me to steal.

B: No, we “won” the war. Though, while not debatable, it is ironic. That the cars we drive. Are made by the nations we obliterated. That's ironic.

 


Медведь. Пьеса Дмитрия Быкова

Медведь Быкова – это он сам. Как всегда, показывает зубы, десны, глотку etc etc. Родина и все такое, без нее никуда. Не хочу рассказывать сюжет – пусть рассказывают другие – вот, например.

А в общем, нам дым отечества и сладок, и хронический ларингит. Отек. Шутка про сто двадцать – classy.


The Stronger by August Strindberg

The Stronger is probably the shortest theater play I’ve ever read – a kind of short story one-act play. Autobiographical for Strindberg, as some historians claim. Not sure why the forgiving wife is stronger than the abandoned lover – well, maybe Strindberg’s wife was.

And, some universal wisdom from the great playwright: “I didn’t dare have you for an enemy, so I became your friend.”