A revival of David Mamet's drama, Edmond, opened the eleventh season of Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theatre Company through Oct. 27.
The cast will feature Mamet friend and veteran David Rasche (pronounced Rah-shee), company regulars Mary McCann, Jordan Lage and Neil Pepe, and Rod McLachlan, Leslie Silva, Kevin Thigpen, Mary Ann Urbano, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.
An urban fable about a contemporary everyman whose search for meaning sends him on a dark and violent journey through a racially charged underworld, Edmond premiered at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1982.
"Edmond is both bleak and scathingly funny," wrote Vincent Canby in his Sunday New York Times column (Oct. 13). "...It's eerie, angry and punishing; yet it's so well done that you may actually smile at the end... Edmond ends its engagement on Oct. 27. You had better go now."
In his review for the Oct. 14 New York magazine, John Simon praised Edmond as "one of David Mamet's best plays. Short but not skimpy, it takes its titular hero in 75 minutes from a lilywhite bourgeois existence to incarceration for murder... The director, Clark Gregg, gets good performances from all in this Atlantic Theatre Company revival especially Leslie Silva as a prostitute and Mary McCann [the willing waitr In her Village Voice review (Oct. 15), Francine Russo raved about the "provocative and unsettling" drama: "Clark Gregg's production of Mamet's 1982 play is searing... David Rasche is a revelation, both scary and chillingly funny as Edmond." In his Newsday review (Oct. 2), Jonathan Mandell praised Mamet's mastery of crude language and the Atlantic Theatre Company cast, but called the play one of Mamet's less satisfying works. "Edmond offers us neither characters of complexity nor a convincing look at his familiar themes... We know so little even about Edmond that we assume the play is meant as allegory, and what we do know about him is hard to identify with, since he spews views that are sexist, racist and homophobic... Edmond can most charitably be thought of as a period piece...but even in this period, Mamet was capable of better."
In his New York Post review of Oct. 3, Clive Barnes found Edmond "a strange kind of parable, this Rimbaud-like search for diamonds in ashes, for peace in violence, and for salvation in acceptance. The play will not appeal to all, and even its admirers may find its cinematic style mechanism simplistic and its thought more schematic than profound... [But] the play itself emerges oddly as a scream for the beauty of fulfillment in an ugly, threatening world -- nasty but fascinating."
Mamet, who won a Pulitzer prize for his Glengarry Glen Ross, co founded the Atlantic Theatre Company with W.H. Macy in 1985. Since then, the troupe have staged over 75 plays for stage and radio in New York, Vermont and Chicago. They've offered the New York premieres of Howard Korder's Boy's Life and his masterwork, The Lights, as well as Craig Lucas' Missing Persons and the dramas Distant Fires and Trafficking In Broken Hearts.
Other plays by David Mamet include American Buffalo, Speed The-Plow (which introduced Madonna to Broadway), Oleanna and The Cryptogram. The playwright's last assignment with the Atlantic was directing a stylized version of J.B. Priestley's Dangerous Corner in 1995.
-- By David Lefkowitz