Neil Pepe discusses star-studded Broadway revival of ‘American Buffalo’

David Mamet’s 47-year-old american buffalo Aptly called one of the great American dramas. Neil Pepe, artistic director of New York’s Atlantic Theater Company and the director of the latest star-studded Broadway revival featuring Lawrence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss, talks newsweek About drama, its history and its enduring appeal.

there are many reasons american buffalo It was a game-changer when it debuted in 1975. For a generation of theater creatives, this is a seminal work. Pepe told newsweek“I have a lot of friends, colleagues and people I admire in the theater world who describe this play as a real turning point for them when they saw it, or read or heard it.

“I think it has to do with many things. I think it takes the lid off America’s working class. It’s about language, character, strength of language and how Mamet is ready to present the truth of these people. When it started, it was quite explosive. and i think it is still As explosive as it might be a short three-person game about three people who are in the business of piracy trying to pull off their big shot, it’s a play that turns unexpectedly. comes from larger themes, which are concerned with loyalty, honor, betrayal, treason. And it’s about people who have been dealt with with the short end of the stick and trying to make it into a society that doesn’t always help them.

“That’s a long-winded way of saying that, while it’s an incredibly well-constructed, well-written, well-written, brilliant story about three people, thematically it’s a lot of different. -It’s pretty universal for different people. Structurally it works really well and plot wise too, but it’s just so thrilling to work on the language. And the characters – with these characters as a director And working with this group of actors is both thrilling and unexpected.”

Neil Pepe spoke with Greeley Tribune about directing David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” and its stars, from top left, Darren Criss, Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne, on Broadway.
Richard Termin

The language which is indecent, profane and ungrammatical has also been described as poetic. Pepe agrees, he said newsweek“Smarter people than me have pointed it out. If you track it, many [the language] is almost iambic. Mamet has such a great sense of rhythm, and he pays really close, detailed attention to how people really speak—and then he makes up for lack of a better word, poetry, and music.”

american buffalo The theater has been influential in many ways, both inside and outside the community. As can be seen in some of the dialogue, minutiae and trivia predate the fictional digressions that would be iconic in Quentin Tarantino. pulp Fiction, Pepe said that “a lot of people like Jez Butterworth and many other playwrights talk about this play and what Mamet did himself. So it definitely affected a lot of people; and I think when it came out When it came, it was quite explosive and a new thing—and it certainly made waves, because it continues to make waves.

“But it’s thrilling enough that, for a play that’s almost 50 years old, it still makes me feel very, very refreshed and alive to the time in which we’re living.”

speed change

Apart from everything else, american buffalo Tapping into the largely untapped market of coin collectors, there will likely be some crossover appeal, which has multiple versions. A Guide Book of United States Coinage and/or A book of coins of the united states (both by RS Yeoman). Ever since Horace Vandergelder didn’t put a penny in his pocket, the US currency had such a low level of any currency on Broadway. For collectors, though, there’s a lot of fun to be had from the ineptitude of these sordid con artists. One can easily do the third function, which is populated by american buffalocharacters outside of the U.S., in which Bobby, Teach, and Don are given their own “buffalo heads” (not really a technical term; use Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel if you’re facing a numismatics) of nickel. are associated with.

The eponymous, undated (in the play), according to Pepe, “is a sort of McGuffin, but at the same time, it’s almost the same—what’s that show on TV? Antiques Roadshow—Looks like you didn’t know you had some valuable treasure in your attic. Here, some guy comes into the store and says I’ll buy that coin for $90, and all of a sudden, they’re like: ‘Oh my god, we’ve got a rich guy who must have a ton of coins. , We have to demolish his house. So it’s a coin provoking incident.”

For what it’s worth, depending on the dates, location of the mint, and condition, only a few Buffalo nickels are worth much. Holding a winning lottery ticket increases your chances of being truly valuable by being struck by lightning. OK, maybe a little better than that, but don’t spend too much energy looking for one.

Another side note: Someone on eBay is selling a Buffalo Nickel for $2,500; That is buy it now. It is worn and has no date, which means it would have cost about five cents if it were at auction.

star properties

american buffalo Robert Duval, Al Pacino and John Leguizamo have always attracted big names, all played Teach on Broadway, but we have three stars in this production. Fishburne, Rockwell and Chris all star in several arenas.

Pepe told newsweek“It’s not only story-wise and language-wise it’s a great drama, the actors are also attracted to the characters. I mean, I’ve known Sam Rockwell for quite a long time. We first heard actors in the late ’80s. , and he always talks about wanting to teach over the years. So he’s like a student of drama. And Lawrence wrote a play of his own, called riff raf -cIncidentally, this was also done at The Circle in the Square downtown. [as was a production of American Buffalo with Al Pacino]- I think in the mid-90s. And it’s a play that’s pretty close with the same structure american buffalo, I remember how much he liked talking to Laurence at the time? american buffalo,

In theory, stars can sometimes make things difficult for a director, in practice, Pepe said that while these are “very famous actors, what it comes down to is about being in the room, really. I am so talented, how skilled he is.

“So as directors, it’s really about setting up a frame, a structure where they can thrive, giving them a jumping-off point so they can play their best game—a sports team’s coach. Kind of. Sometimes, it’s about getting out of the way.

“Especially in the case of Lawrence and Sam: they’re used to doing film things. So they’ll come very prepared, and they’ll be willing to put in longer work hours. So sometimes I have to resist the temptation to stop. them, because they’re always working and they’re always making great things.

“And with Darren, who not only has such incredible skills as an actor, he’s also so passionate and hungry. It’s great because they’re always bringing out exciting new things. It’s really the excitement of depth, Go as far as we can. It’s that thrill of working with great actors who obviously turn out to be stars, which is definitely helpful.”

sunny atlantic weather

With such top-flight institutional theaters as the Irish repertory company, The Public, among others, Atlantic is one of the jewels in New York’s theatrical crown. It has been the incubator of fine theater for 37 years. from serious plays, (eg Dublin Carolee), for humor (especially a great revival of) Butter and Egg Man) for music kimberly akimboThe Atlantic has been one of the prime destinations for serious theater-goers for decades.

And more recently, as artistic director of The Atlantic, Pepe has seen his company have a particularly good year. While Atlantic is not producing American Buffalo. The DNA of the company runs through the show. “Mamet and I are both members of The Atlantic, and in fact Jordan Ledge and Ray Anthony Thomas, who are studying, are both members as well.

Pepe says, “Not only have we got our season going, but we have [Dominique Morisseau’s] skeleton crew Which was just done on Broadway. [Martin McDonagh’s] more Now on Broadway. Musical adaptation of David Lindsay-Abiers kimberly akimbo ‘Stephen Adley Gurgis’ as Destined to Go to Broadway Riverside Crazy Beach,

But for now in Circle in the Square on Broadway, american buffalo Realm is a dramatic coin.

american buffalo Currently playing at Circle in the Square, 235 West 50th Street, New York. Visit for tickets and more information.

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