Stoicism and the actor: An evening with David Mamet



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Texas Tech University


David Alan Mamet was bora November 30, 1947, to Bernard and Lenora Mamet in Flossmoor, South Chicago. Both mother and father were children of Polish-Jewish immigrants. Lenora, a schoolteacher, and Bernard, a labor lawyer, were to play strong influences in the shaping of a mind given to precise language. Growing up in a south Chicago suburb would give David Mamet an intimate acquaintance with the people he would come to write about.

His father was an amateur semanticist and would often insist around the dinner table that David and his sister Lyn find the exact words to best express themselves, Lyn later suggested in an interview that David, "probably saw the motive for this kind of training not as pure, but as expression of a conviction that 'life is horrible and you better be good at something. I don't think he ever felt loved for just being David'" (Carroll 4). At the age of four, he was taking piano lessons and studying complicated rhyming jingles on records put out by the International Society of Semanticists. This attention to verbal precision and rhythm produced a style of writing sensitively manipulated into verse. Mamet says, "A line's got to scan. I'm very concerned with the metric scansion of everything I write, including the rhythmic emphasis of the word 'fiicking.' In rehearsal, I've been known to be caught counting the beats on my fingers" (Dean 18).



Mamet, David -- Criticism and interpretation