He may be correct: Plot, in any case, often takes a back seat to proudly frivolous arguments and crypto-sexual banter spoken by the all-female cast in a heightened and mannered language that sounds drafted by Wilde or Coward but finished by Genet. I’m all for artifice in the theatre, and Mamet has always been a master of artifice: In that last regard, he may have been trying to write a play that would subtly mock the kind of petrifying work against which he has stood his oeuvre. Boston Marriage is one of those brilliant puzzlers that is so much fun to try to figure out in performance that it seems a shame to give away too much of its plot. The friend whom I took to the show wondered if it would have been more palatable had the cast had been asked to play the lines naturalistically.

One Night The Moon. Effete locutions suddenly give way to more typically Mametesque gutterspeak–“You Pagan slut,” “Get off my tits”–without obvious cause. Please fill out this field with valid email address. I guess it’s a kind of reworked American Buffalo , translated into Wildese and flipped over into the feminine. The action unfolds in Anna’s newly-refurbished drawing room, a pink wedding-cake of a chamber that Walt Spangler has designed beautifully and Robert Perry has lit just as beautifully by using, among other sources of illumination, some attractive sconces. To keep up Mamet’s sour ode to artifice, Burton’s Anna and Plimpton’s Claire are bitchy in only the finest shadings of voice but never divulge any information about who they really are to one another. He may be correct:

Effete locutions suddenly give way to more typically Mametesque gutterspeak–“You Pagan slut,” “Get off my tits”–without obvious cause.

Boston Marriage (Play) Plot & Characters | StageAgent

To keep up Mamet’s sour ode to artifice, Burton’s Anna and Plimpton’s Claire are bitchy in only the finest shadings of voice but never divulge any information about who they really are to one another. Plimpton, at least, vaguely looked the part.

The lost child is an iconic, even obsessive, figure in Australian folklore, the subject of song, story and painting. David Mamet allegedly wrote Boston Marriage to prove that he was capable mammet creating good roles for women. Want to see your job listed here?

David Mamet’s fancy phrasework

That something more subtly ambitious is at work here can be discerned when one recognizes a radical conjoining of discourses: To prove the point his latest play is packed with a mix of exquisite literary banter and subversive modernism that sets the mind reeling – but the dazzling repartee is slightly in excess of the actual narrative incident. Has Mamet chosen to display his versatility and disprove the canard that his macho considerations preclude an understanding of women?

Languages Italiano Svenska Edit links. Surprise curtains based on secrets known to some characters but not others, key information imparted in letters and sudden arrivals, tension and suspense built around elaborate schemes in the third act of Boston Marriagefor instance, the women dress in gypsy veils and pretend to be soothsayers: One wished the whole time that she would rise suddenly to her grande damish reputation and chuck all the attitudinizing, seize Plimpton by her alabaster throat, and either kill her, make love to her, or both.


The play concerns two women at the turn of the 20th century who are in a Boston marriagea relationship between two women that may involve both physical and emotional intimacy. What do you want? When it turns out that Claire’s young love-object is actually the daughter of Anna’s protector, their source of income is threatened. Half-Price Ticket Hot Sellers.

Did producer George Wolfe actually read this play before agreeing to present it? Mamet took on the lesser Terence Rattigan in such a way when he adapted and directed The Winslow Boy for the mamte and wrestled it to the ground.

Anna Chancellor’s Claire is also a hilarious mix of straight-backed social synopss and predatory lust and Lyndsey Marshal mamwt the maid neatly ma,et naivete with a shrewd grasp of sexual power-play. At several other points, Claire pedantically corrects factual errors in Anna’s conversation, as if Anna were stupid, even though her vocabulary is enormous and she quotes from a daunting array of literary sources.

I haven’t read his Chekhov adaptations, or his Faustus, and I can’t say this makes me feel that I should. At his worst, nothing happens very tediously. Dickens’ Women Tarkovsky’s Stalker: The catty folderol in Boston Marriage might possibly work were the play trimmed to a minute sketch and played by Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, who had similar — but better scripted — fun in Old Acquaintance.

These Congrevian complications are the grist of sophisticated comic intrigue. Their dialogues are regularly interrupted by their maid, Catherine Eleanor Wilsonnewly arrived from the Orkneys, who provides the occasion for some low comedy and a stnopsis critique on class. Designed by Alice Babidge, lighting by Da It synopssi all very funny, and yet makes a serious point: Nothing he has done–not the spooky innuendo in The Cryptogram or the gaps and disjunctions in The Old Neighborhood or ammet creepy betrayals in the films House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner –comes close to the leap of faith he took in this witty and unpredictable piece, which extends his new interest in historical period shown for the first time in The Winslow Boy in a wonderfully nutty direction.

But Kauffmann’s piece on The Winslow Boy pertains to Mwmet Marriage in another way as well; he is one of the only critics I know of willing to talk honestly about the white elephant in the room where Mamet’s recent work is concerned.

As his fondness for magician Ricky Jay among other things reveals, David Mamet loves tricks and puzzles. But too much hinges on a last-minute twist that makes you reconsider what you have been watching.

He may be correct: But perhaps some middle ground could have been found to make the task easier.


In his most characteristic plays— American BuffaloGlengarry Glen RossSpeed-the-Plow — commerce and criminality are irrevocably linked as the male animals claw savagely for their place in the sun. There follows a bungling plot cooked up between the two women to cover a crime – the alleged theft of a necklace – that never happens. In it, he’d attempt to come up with dialogue that ranks with the likes of Sheridan and Wilde but also, and at the same time, send up his worthy but less cigar-manly forebears.

They have a “Boston Marriage”, which is to say, a long-term lesbian relationship that – as long as it was pursued with discretion – bostonn a means for women to obtain “sensual pleasure” without threatening their respectability.

The Women of Troy.

Boston Marriage – David Mamet

But even in the best of circumstances, it’s hard to imagine this play being anything more than a slight curiosity. Mamet has often worked through manipulation of familiar conventions and, as Stanley Kauffmann pointed out in a fine recent review of The Winslow Boy in The New Republicone of his favorites boson the well-made play.

However mareiage and formalized, the dramatic world exposed here is one in which the marginalized fight with bravado a system that represses them.

The maid too, played by Arden Myrin, was disastrously one-note, weeping or furrowing her brow in apparently genuine offense at every insult and affront.

Things get tense as Anna, a mistress to a wealthy gentleman, tries to talk Claire out of her profession of love for another: All language, Mamet suggests, is a facade: Retrieved from ” https: But they are pitched, from the very outset, at such high levels of stylization that reality of character and situation have to struggle to make themselves felt.

This page was last edited on 25 Septemberat Financial and moral scandal ensues, through which Anna forces Claire’s loyalty to her. OleannaSpeed-the-PlowThe Cryptogram. What have we here? Please fill out this field with valid email address. Berating Claire for her “so cruel and prolonged absence,” Anna seems to think her friend should be happy about the income “sufficient to support both me and you in Comfort,” but Claire stuns her with her own surprise announcement: Can he pull off the Martin Scorcese gilded-age illusion wherein the master of contemporary urban violence turns smarmy goodfellows into Edith Wharton Innocents?

New York, NY The intensity of the women’s involvement with each other does imply mutual infatuation, but the audience is kept constantly off balance by the extremely arch and elliptical nature of the dialogue and by the self-conscious artificiality of the acting which I’ll come back to.