Subtitle: Method No Good
David Mamet is a great writer. If I was asked to make a list of fav screenwriters he would be on the top of my list. And then there is his stage work. “Glengarry Glen Ross” is one of the best plays American theatre has to offer, not to mention the very simple, minimalistic and highly charged “Oleanna”. But what puts all that in perspective, at least for me, is that Mamet is an outspoken opponent of ”the method”. I have always disliked method acting, not because of what it does for actors – which is a good thing – but because of what it does not do for theatre, especially the process behind managing theatre. Of course Lee Strasberg,Stanislavski, others, have made their mark and contribution to theatre which I will not downplay here. But there is nothing worse then rehearsing a play and for an actor to suddenly say, “What am I feeling here?” My answer has always been, “Go find your friggin feeling, method, Stella Adler on your own time. Now act like a lamp-shade, you fuck!”
When on a tight budget and you have only three hours in rented rehearsal space and an actor starts asking existential questions about ”to be or not to be” the only thing that comes to (my) mind is, “You’ve got to be fuckin’ kidding me!”
I’m not saying that Method is inherently bad. If that’s what makes an actors boat float then so be it. Just do it while learning your craft, while training, but not while working with a group of others on a tight schedule.
Now that I’ve idealized Mamet and joined him in criticizing Method, I must also admit the man doesn’t shit roses. Recently he published an article that got under my gander.
Here Mamet 2.
Here my minuscule review of Mamet’s “The Secret Knowledge – The Dismantling of America”.