Three Uses of the Knife (Diaries, Letters and Essays): On the Nature and Purpose of Drama (Diaries, Letters and Essays)

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9780713685589: Three Uses of the Knife (Diaries, Letters and Essays): On the Nature and Purpose of Drama (Diaries, Letters and Essays)

The purpose of theater, like magic, like religion . . . is to inspire cleansing awe. What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? David Mamet, one of our greatest living playwrights, tackles these questions with bracing directness and aphoristic authority. He 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. 

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Review:

Playwright David Mamet's three lectures at Columbia University are ostensibly about issues of dramatic structure, but as they unfold, and Mamet continually explores the relationship between dramatic structure and the lives we live, much broader concerns are revealed. Here, for example, is Mamet on political propaganda:

It is ... essential to the healthy political campaign that the issues be largely or perhaps totally symbolic--i.e., non-quantifiable. Peace With Honor, Communists in the State Department, Supply Side Economics, Recapture the Dream, Bring Back the Pride--these are the stuff of pageant. They are not social goals; they are, as Alfred Hitchcock told us, the MacGuffin.... The less specific the qualities of the MacGuffin are, the more interested the audience will be.... A loose abstraction allows audience members to project their own desires onto an essentially featureless goal.

Although occasionally academic, the overall tone of the lectures is consistent with Mamet's no-nonsense manner of speech. He has no time for obfuscation and little time for repetition, save when he must absolutely employ it for emphasis. He is passionate about good theater, and passionate about the truth. 3 Uses of the Knife makes an excellent companion piece to his True and False, which addressed similar philosophical matters in the form of advice on the actor's craft.

Book Description:

What makes good drama? How does drama matter in our lives? One of America's most respected writers reminds us of the secret powers of the play. Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet celebrates the absolute necessity of drama―and the experience of great plays―in our lurching attempts to make sense of ourselves and our world.

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A paperback edition of award-winning dramatist David Mamet s acclaimed collection of theatre essays. Renowned playwright, screenwriter, poet and essayist David Mamet explains the necessity, purpose and demands of drama. A celebration of the ties that bind art to life, Three Uses of the Knife will enthral anyone who has sat anxiously waiting for the lights to go up on Act 1. In three tightly woven essays of characteristic force and resonance, Mamet speaks about the connection of art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, public spectacle to private script. Self-assured and filled with autobiographical touches Three Uses of the Knife is a call to art and arms, a manifesto that reminds us of the singular power of the theatre to keep us sane, whole and human. Mamet s writing is tight, spare, and as accurate and ruthless as a scalpel Sunday Times. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780713685589

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A paperback edition of award-winning dramatist David Mamet s acclaimed collection of theatre essays. Renowned playwright, screenwriter, poet and essayist David Mamet explains the necessity, purpose and demands of drama. A celebration of the ties that bind art to life, Three Uses of the Knife will enthral anyone who has sat anxiously waiting for the lights to go up on Act 1. In three tightly woven essays of characteristic force and resonance, Mamet speaks about the connection of art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, public spectacle to private script. Self-assured and filled with autobiographical touches Three Uses of the Knife is a call to art and arms, a manifesto that reminds us of the singular power of the theatre to keep us sane, whole and human. Mamet s writing is tight, spare, and as accurate and ruthless as a scalpel Sunday Times. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780713685589

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, David Mamet, A paperback edition of award-winning dramatist David Mamet's acclaimed collection of theatre essays. Renowned playwright, screenwriter, poet and essayist David Mamet explains the necessity, purpose and demands of drama. A celebration of the ties that bind art to life, Three Uses of the Knife will enthral anyone who has sat anxiously waiting for the lights to go up on Act 1. In three tightly woven essays of characteristic force and resonance, Mamet speaks about the connection of art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, public spectacle to private script. Self-assured and filled with autobiographical touches Three Uses of the Knife is a call to art and arms, a manifesto that reminds us of the singular power of the theatre to keep us sane, whole and human. 'Mamet's writing is tight, spare, and as accurate and ruthless as a scalpel' Sunday Times. Bookseller Inventory # B9780713685589

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Book Description Methuen Drama, 2007. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. Playwright, screenwriter, poet and essayist David Mamet explains the necessity, purpose and demands of drama. In these three essays, he describes the ties that bind art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, and shows the power of the theatre to keep us whole and human. Series: Diaries, Letters and Essays. Num Pages: 96 pages. BIC Classification: DD. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 132 x 7. Weight in Grams: 102. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780713685589

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Book Description Methuen Drama. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. Playwright, screenwriter, poet and essayist David Mamet explains the necessity, purpose and demands of drama. In these three essays, he describes the ties that bind art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, and shows the power of the theatre to keep us whole and human. Series: Diaries, Letters and Essays. Num Pages: 96 pages. BIC Classification: DD. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 132 x 7. Weight in Grams: 102. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780713685589

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