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Word Count: 665
American Buffalo is a funny play It doesnt overflow with jokes but develops sustained humour from the rhythm of the dialogue a rolling punch line that builds for an hour and a half Its hard to nail down Imagine someone who doesnt understand English listening to Lenny Bruce on a riff They cant get the jokes yet for some reason they fall over laughing Delivery pace inflection style carry the humour And when the comedy dissolves into violence theres no safe emotional ground to retreat to The play centres on three small-time crooks How small The object of their loopy schemes is a lowly nickel A rare and valuable nickel -- maybe -- but still just a nickel These guys are nickel-and-dimers minus the dimes But when youre far enough down penny-ante stakes are desperate stuff Don played by Alec Willows runs a junk shop Teach Stephen Dimopoulos is his thuggish friend and Bobby Benjamin Ratner is a hype who runs errands for Don Don and Teach are hyper-verbal lowlifes if a bit dimwitted Teach particularly is one of those people who has difficulty thinking unless hes talking and an even harder time talking unless hes moving Dimopoulos and Willows can rarely be caught acting they inhabit these characters live in their skins Mamets obscene poetry sparks in their mouths like firecrackers Ratners slo-mo junkie rhythms are a perfect counterpoint the syncopating element that keeps the plays dynamics from going stale American Buffalo operates on pure high-octane testosterone Machismo is an insufficient word to describe it We need a new noun mametismo Mamet builds his play out of male stereotypes cards banter sexual bragging rituals of business and violence He goes far beyond easy mockery to unlock deeper levels of meaning and emotion that have made these things such enduring clichs Women only exist off-stage in this play as in much of Mamets work Dont expect equal
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