David Mamet: Redbelt


The film has gotten mixed reviews. Am going to see it at the Lyric tommorrow after selling popcorn last night. Will let you know what I think. Chiwetel Ejiofor won the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in British playwright Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange which was reviewed by Philip Fisher, who interestingly tied the performance back to Mamet:

David Mamet’s Oleanna showed how a decent, educated man could be brought to ruin as a result of what many would regard as relatively minor prejudices. In Blue/Orange, Joe Penhall attacks a similar subject slightly differently. In this case, the two major issues are race and madness. As with Oleanna, this play not only shows how an individual can be brought to his knees, it also raises interesting moral questions with regard to what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and what punishment should be meted out to a person who oversteps the limit.

Having seen Oleanna (I’m thinking at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, and then there is the 1994 film with William Macey and Debra Eisenstadt), I looked up the Guardian’s interview of Penhall to learn whether he mentioned Mamet as an influence. He didn’t. But in contrasting the resources available for up and coming playwrights in Britian v.s. the U.S., he did provide what is my nomination for quote of the day:

In America they won’t give you the steam off their piss. It’s like boot camp. They seem to think that by tormenting and abusing and pissing on their aspiring writers they’ll eventually find the next Arthur Miller.

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