Friday, June 26, 2009

26 June Play-->David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow"

Another great Mamet, and brings up a question that I've been asking myself a bit lately: is there room for idealism in this business? The main character, Bob Gould, Head of Production at the studio, is torn between green lighting a film that will probably make him and his friend Charlie Fox incredibly rich, but based on a script full of predictable violence and smut, or pushing through an adaptation of a densely written book about the end of the world that discusses "how we all feel." The only reason he considers the second option is when his temp, Karen, who he's assigned to read the book and pitch it back to him (and who he must sleep with to win a $500 bet with Fox), meets him the evening before the big meeting and seems to actually reach to the last piece of humanity that may be left after all those years in the business. It ends the way you would expect. At least, it ended the way I expected.

Now, I'm a romantic--truly, I am. And it is hard to maintain a certain sense of romanticism while working in this business, though sometimes that's the only reason you keep on doing it. I can only speak for the theatre, which no one gets into "for the money." (And if they did, God bless them, but what were they thinking, really?) Sometimes you only do this work for the sake of your soul--and often, you're soul doesn't seem to be worth very much, monetarily speaking. But you can usually feel good enough about what you've done, what you're trying to do, to sustain yourself.

And yet, this is not always the case. If we've learned anything from Entourage, we know that movie deals can be made and unmade based on one remark said to someone's daughter, or a bad gift given at a birthday party--things are that precious and tenuious. Fortunes are earned and destroyed everyday with one decision. It's a high pressure business that demands a lot of energy (no wonder there is so much coke), and often to survive it you seem to need to trade off pieces of yourself, bit by bit. How much can you compromise, and how much do you still need to be able to wake up and consider yourself a person? Hollywood seems rife for this sort of moral dilema, but I think the "problems" we associate with that kind of lifestyle can echo in many other places, for many other people, who have nothing to do with the film industry.

Good stuff: There are moments when reading the script where I was getting Fox and Gould confused, they spoke so much alike. There was something really great there, in that you understood that these men had spent a lot of time in this industry, learning how to "communicate appropriately." Such a starck contrast to the simple, earnest approach of Karen's dialogue throughout. Makes me wonder how Madonna handled it back in the 80's...

Monologues: 1 for Karen, a woman in her twenties (whoo hoo!), but it's a little one-note. Maybe appropriate for another Mamet audition, because at least you'll show you know the writer. Yuo could break it up with actioning, though.

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