David Mamet, Theatre (Faber & Faber, $22). In this hard-nosed little book, the author of American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross concisely sets forth his explanations of what theater is, how it works, why most directors and all critics are idiots, and why people who don’t write plays like David Mamet are basically wasting their time. He also finishes the job of outing himself as a libertarian-flavored not-quite-conservative. Since Mamet is also one of the major American playwrights of the twentieth century, all this is of obvious interest to anyone who cares about theater, and it’s expressed so compellingly (if repetitiously) that you can’t help but get swept up in the current of the author’s absolute self-assurance. You may not like Theatre, but you’ll learn from it (TT).
Archives for April 25, 2010
Pat Metheny, Orchestrion (Nonesuch). The most influential jazz guitarist of his generation hooks up a roomful of solenoid-controlled acoustic musical instruments to his electric guitar, turns them into the world’s biggest one-man band, and causes them to play an albumful of ear-ticklingly lovely original compositions. Go here to see Metheny talk about the technology behind this fascinating project–but by all means listen first (TT).
La Cage aux Folles (Longacre, 220 W. 48). The Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical-comedy version of the 1978 film is still as tawdry and tinselly as ever, but this small-scale revival, which stars Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge, is so unfancy and heartfelt that it miraculously contrives to turn a show I’ve never liked into one that touched me to the heart. As of now, La Cage is the show to see if you’re looking for a Big Broadway Tourist Trap that’s worth the price of the ticket (TT).