LOS ANGELES -- Calling it "fatuous, sophistic, grandstanding and moronic," Charles Marowitz shredded David Mamet's new book True and False -- Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor in a recent review in the L.A. Weekly. While acknowledging Mamet's skill and importance as a playwright, Marowitz, critic and artistic director of the Malibu Stage Company, dismissed all of his ideas on the actor's art.
"The book begins by proclaiming the Stanislavsky Method, and the technique of the schools derived from it, is nonsense," Marowitz said. "What seems to have dawned on Mamet rather late in life is that The Method (viz. Strasberg's Freudian fudge) is generally in disrepute and has been for something like l5 years."
Marowitz also castigated Mamet for exalting the playwright above the actor: "The whole history of 'vehicles' in the theatre is the history of rotten plays like The Bells and The Jest tranformed by the alchemy of actors such as Henry Irving and the Barrymores."
Mamet's statement that "the only reason to rehearse is to learn to perform the play. It is not to 'explore the meaning of the play' -- the play, for the actor, has no meaning beyond its performance," also drew withering comments from Marowitz. "If the author were the sole arbiter of a play's meaning," he said, "no dramatic work would ever possess ambiguity or be susceptible to endless reinterpretation."
Marowitz concluded by calling True and False "a sermon delivered by an angry cleric whose secret desire is to shove his notion of God down the throats of misbelievers. Its passion is misplaced; its exhortations, woefully unresearched; its bias, so blatant as to be embarrassing." -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent