The UVa-Wise Theater Department’s second production of the season, American Buffalo by David Mamet, opens on Nov. 8 in the Gilliam Center for the Arts Black Box Theater. Directed by Theater Professor Michael McNulty, the production is an opportunity to reconsider Mamet’s 1977 brutal, dark comedy from the contemporary context of the #MeToo Movement and a growing understanding of the gender-based acculturations colloquially referred to as “toxic masculinity.”
Winner of the 1977 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play, this volatile drama starred Robert Duvall in the original Broadway production and has seen revivals with Al Pacino and John Leguizamo.
In a Chicago junk shop, three small-time crooks plot to rob a man of his coin collection, the showpiece of which is a valuable “Buffalo nickel.” These high-minded grifters fancy themselves businessmen pursuing legitimate free enterprise. But the reality of the three – Donny, the oafish junk shop owner; Bobby, a young junkie Donny has taken under his wing; and “Teach,” a violently paranoid braggart – is that they are merely pawns caught up in their own game of last-chance, dead-end, empty pipe dreams.
Performances will be Nov. 8-9 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 15-16 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for the public or free with a UVa-Wise I.D. Tickets may be purchased in person before the shows or at etix.com (service fee applies). The Box Office opens one hour prior to the start of each performance. The performance contains staged violence, excessive use of profanity, and several episodes of character-specific hate-speech. It is a virtuosic work of drama that serves as a stark reminder of the subtle aggressions that human beings inflict upon one another out of fear and ignorance. As such, it may be considered inappropriate for some audiences and is not recommended for children.