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Sexual Perversity in Chicago and the Duck…

Sexual Perversity in Chicago and the Duck Variations: Two Plays (1977)

by David Mamet, David Mamet

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265542,932 (3.64)4



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Showing 4 of 4
These plays do not meet the definition of well-made plays. They are realistic in tone without realism in setting. They are chronological without being linear. They fail to have a recognizable arc or a solid three act structure. And if you think any of that is said as a negative, you would be wrong. These are solidly in the style of no style so popular during the latter part of the 20th century. The first, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, is really just like a very long SNL skit with two guys who want to get laid, and the two women with whom they cross paths. Mamet catches a breathtakingly astounding amount of misogyny, presents it matter-of-factly, and does not romanticize the youth; in fact, they are all rather unpleasant people. In Duck Variations, there is no story at all, just a series of vignettes, in some of which there are ducks. More philosophical than the other piece, it actually contains a fair amount of environmental consciousness. For those who are familiar with the path of Mamet, these pieces are obviously written during his liberal period, before he remade himself in the conservative mode. Unlike many of his conservative pieces (and some of his liberal pieces), these do not have a clear ideological basis, but instead appear to be more interested in the human condition. Mamet examines that, and seems definitely to find it wanting. Definitely worth a read. ( )
  Devil_llama | Aug 25, 2015 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
I love David Mamet's writing, he is the playwright equivalent of Aaron Sorkin for me. His dialogue is stylized, snappy and original. Of these two plays, I think Sexual Perversity in Chicago is superior. On the surface it seems to just be about a misogynist pig named Bernie and his slightly less perverse friend Dan. But when you dig into some of the dialogue and look for the subtle hints and tells, there's a much deeper story about the insecurities of men and how they handle them. I loved that it wasn't just spelled out and required the reader to really interpret what was going on.

The Duck Variations was good and had a decent message to it as well, but the pacing was much slower than I've come to expect from Mamet and as a result I was a little bored. Also it was much more straightforward, and having been so intrigued by the first play in this book, I was a bit underwhelmed.

That said, Mamet is one of my favorite playwrights and I'm going to continue reading through his catalog as time permits. ( )
  davadog13 | Nov 21, 2013 |
one of the first plays I was really excited about owning and reading and acting in. ( )
  TakeItOrLeaveIt | Feb 21, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
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David Mametprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mamet, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080215011X, Paperback)

The Duck Variations is a dialogue between two old men sitting on a park bench. The conversation turns to the mating habits of ducks, but soon begins to reveal their feelings about natural law, friendship, and death. New York magazine has called The Duck Variations “a gorgeously written, wonderfully observant piece whose timing and atmosphere are close to flawless.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"'Sexual perversity in Chicago' is about two young men, Bernie and Danny, and two young women, Deborah and Joan, trying to sort out their sex lives amid filing cabinets and the nervous regimentation of the singles bar scene. 'The duck variations' is a dialogue between two old men sitting on a park bench. The conversation turns to the mating habits of ducks, but soon begins to reveal their feelings about natural law, friendship, and death." -- Back cover.… (more)

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