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Title: Language as dramatic action : a study of five plays by David Mamet
Author: Dean, Anne Margaret
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1988
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The drama of David Mamet is one which is, above all, concerned with language. His plays are scabrous tours de force which set out to expose what he sees as the decline in moral standards in contemporary America and the subsequent debasement of oral expression. The banality and aimlessness of much modern experience is captured, distilled and reconstituted in his extraordinarily rich and pungent dialogue. Mamet's wickedly funny yet fundamentally very serious works teem with language which is at once wholly authentic and yet strangely lyrical, the discordant sounds of urban aphasia being somehow raised into dramatic poetry. He takes the most basic - and frequently obscene - street language and shapes it into a new form of existence; it is real and yet not quite real, coarse but curiously poetic. Language is everything to Mamet: the lines spoken by his characters do not merely contain words which express a particular idea or emotion, they are the idea or emotion itself. His characters' speech dictates the form his plays will take, as well as the mood and swing of the discourse. Praised by the majority of critics for his ability to reproduce the idiom of the streets as a kind of free verse, he has been attacked by others for much the same reason, as well as being mistaken for a simple realist whose only concern is verisimilitude. Such critcisms are, I feel, unjustified and misleading. It is my opinion that Mamet is one of the best and most original dramatists now working in America. The subject of this thesis is Mamet's use of language as dramatic action in 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago', 'American Buffalo', 'A Life in the Theatre', 'Edmond' and 'Glengarry Glen Ross'. These works are excellent examples of Mamet's versatility with idiomatic language as well as covering, fairly broadly, his progress as a dramatist from 1974 to 1983.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theater