Monday, December 07, 2015

Glengarry Glenn Beck

I am not surprised that David Mamet's latest play CHINA DOLL is being trashed by critics. David Mamet has lost it and this is the kind of thing you would expect from someone who has lost it:
What are we to make of these bizarre later Broadway endeavors by the man from Chicago who wrote some of the greatest dramas of the 20th century? Are they soupcons? Digressions or meditations yet to be understood? Anarchistic jabs of defiance at the hyper-liberal, perpetually self-examining theatrical establishment with its committees, action groups and abiding impotence? Neocon jokes by about the only right-of-center scribe in the universe? A desire for more checks made out to David Mamet?
What? What?

David Mamet's endeavor is bizarre because he has lost it. That's what what, Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune. 

I've been building a case for this for several years now.

Come back, come back, wherever you are, David Mamet. All is forgiven (even “Race”) if you will just quit jerking us around on non-plays like “China Doll” and get a grip. There’s material for maybe a one-act in this overblown character study of a power broker whose sins are about to catch up with him. But even with Al Pacino putting him through his emotional paces, this tarnished titan is going through hell in a vacuum, with no one to play off but unheard voices on the other end of the telephone.
Mamet's gone, Marilyn Stasio. He's lost it. He's not only become conservative, he's so far out there he's a guy who pals around with famous paranoid nutcase Glenn Beck and has been that way for years.

Some of the critics did get off some funny lines. David Cote in Timeout:
Like most people these days, I go to the theater so I don’t have to see or think about Donald Trump. Yet here’s Al Pacino, with goofy hair and a monstrous ego, spewing two hours of bullshit as pugnacious, self-righteous moneybags Mickey Ross. His is not just any B.S., however: David Mamet has scripted this dramatically desiccated pencil sketch, in which Ross sweet-talks, wheedles and vituperates his fiancĂ©e, lawyer and political enemies via Bluetooth. Have you ever had the desire to watch Pacino at home, arguing all morning with AppleCare Plus? You are in luck.
I have yet to find any evidence that Mamet is a fan of Donald Trump, but I would not be surprised. Joe Dziemianowicz in the Daily News was even funnier:
David Mamet said his new play, written for frequent muse, Al Pacino, would be “better than oral sex.”
Oral sex? “China Doll” is not even better than oral surgery.
At least for that sort of medical procedure you get painkillers. And it’s not a complete waste of time and money. “China Doll” — henceforth “China Dud” — is both.
Pacino is Mickey Ross, who’s on his cellphone for three-quarters of the show. Not the stuff of great drama. And if we wanted to be entertained by one-sided conversations, we’d watch Lily Tomlin in “Laugh-In” reruns.

But only Jesse Green in New York Magazine really discusses the right-wing lesson Mamet is trying to teach us:
Mickey, whatever his flaws, is after all the hero, and Pacino plays him as such, with great good spirits and glamour. (In Jess Goldstein’s black duds and his own parted-curtains hairstyle, he looks like a chic undertaker.) The villains here are regulation, big government, and the foolish populace that tolerates one and elects the other. This libertarian underpinning is slightly obfuscated so as not to offend the audience outright, and anyway Mamet’s vituperation remains funny, even if it has switched sides. Wondering how the governor, a Democrat to judge from his rhetoric, would even know the “people” he rhapsodizes, Mickey says that “the only time he ever saw them they were waxing his car.” 
But eventually you can’t help facing the fact that Mamet has built what plot there is around the hypocrisy and venality of liberal politicians; the story is rigged to make Mickey, of all people, a victim.
"You weak and unacceptable woman, homosexual, African American, go away, I do not want you."
"But, does no one see that we are people, too . . . ?"
So apparently Mamet feels it's OK to present a plutocrat as a victim so that we can sympathize  - plutocrats are people too.

Of course Mamet doesn't have the self-awareness necessary to recognize his own hypocrisy. Because David Mamet has completely lost it.