"David Mamet: The Playwright Directs" is a short television documentary produced in 1976 where Mamet tries to convey his rehearsal methods for a play. He uses two early short plays as examples, “Dark Pony” and “Reunion.” Mamet is such a no-nonsense individual who never minces words with his cast, that it’s fascinating to see him direct his actors in a fast-paced, hectic manner like a character out of one of his own plays. The end result is a lesson in how Mamet directs his actors and the importance of giving his characters a motivation and how that affects their actions in the drama.
How many passes does it take to create perfect dialogue?
That’s a really good question. I’m not sure I know the answer. I do it fairly spontaneously, and then sometimes, for various reasons, it has to be recrafted. I used to be really good at that, but it gets more difficult as I get older just because my brain is failing. I have less brain cells because long before any of you guys were born, there was something called the ‘60s. That’s where the brain cells were. —The Writer’s Craft: A David Mamet Interview
With special thanks to Alejandro Villarreal