A Life in the Theatre Essay

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In the following essay on David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre, author Anne Dean reviews the drama with special regard to the two central characters, and argues that, ultimately, the drama may be written as much about the theatre life as life itself.

Without exception, all of Mamet's characters are storytellers or performers—or both. They are somewhat like O'Neill's gallery of misfits in The Iceman Cometh; rather than face the realities of an uncertain, often threatening world, they rely upon illusion and the performance of a comforting role to get by. Actors all, they prefer the relative security and coherence of their fictional "pipe dreams" to the incompleteness and ambiguousness of cold experience.

In Mamet's world, to act is also to exist, to make a mark in space. His characters take on their myriad roles to create meaning in their lives, and to give themselves...

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This section contains 12,133 words
(approx. 31 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Life in the Theatre Study Guide
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A Life in the Theatre from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.