Dear KC Rep Patron,
I'm very excited about the Rep's upcoming production of David Mamet's breakthrough drama American Buffalo. Mamet is considered by many to be one of the most prolific and important writers of the last 50 years, and his absence from our repertoire has kept the work of a brilliant American master from our audiences.
Probably the easiest reason to explain why Mamet hasn't been a part of the Rep's work in recent memory is that characters in Mamet's plays swear — a lot. But if I've learned one thing in my five years in Kansas City, it's that our audience is fiercely intelligent and incredibly loyal, and the chance of offending some to share one of the great dramas of our time is a risk we should take.
Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, Oleanna, Wag the Dog), is best known for his creation of real characters in desperate struggles to survive. His people are pawn shop owners, petty thieves, con men, manipulators trying to get ahead. They speak the language of the Chicago streets, and they speak a kind of language most of us don't use in our daily lives. The vernacular is both abrupt and sometimes vulgar, creating a unique tension that has come to be known as “profane poetry” or “Mamet-speak”. Set in a 1970’s pawnshop, the tough-talking con men of American Buffalo won’t mince words, and the profanities they speak are likely to upset those who aren't prepared for it.
Despite the extreme nature of Mamet's characters' dialogue, or perhaps because of it, critics and audiences have embraced American Buffalo over the past 38 years as a true literary classic, with renowned theatre critic Frank Rich describing it as “one of the best American plays of the last decade”. Actors Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz and Al Pacino have all performed roles in this play. I vividly remember seeing Pacino play the role of Teach — I was 10 years old, — and while my parents didn't quite know what we were in for, I remember the play for its intense conflict and drama.
Though I was only 10 when I saw it, I can't recommend that you bring your young children or grandchildren. Because of Mamet's colorful dialogue, we’d like to remind you again that American Buffalo is recommended for ages 17 and above.
Again we thank you for your continuous support; without folks like you in our audiences night after night, ambitious acts of live theatre like American Buffalo, Carousel, or Death of a Salesman could not exist here in Kansas City. Do not hesitate to contact our box office at 816-235-2700 if you have further questions or for more information.