BLUEBARN Stages Mamet’s Classic ‘American Buffalo’
October 2nd, 2014
Omaha, NE — The rare and valuable coexists with the petty and vulgar onstage at one local theatre.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/american-buffalo.mp3]
Omahaâ€™s BLUEBARN Theatre opens its 26th season with American Buffalo, a play by David Mamet. Directing this production is Susan Clement-Toberer, the BLUEBARNâ€™s Artistic Director. She says the playâ€™s setting is nondescript and the characters are as shady as their surroundings.
â€œThe entire play takes place in a junk shop owned by Don,â€ Clement-Toberer said. â€œYou have Don, Teach – a longtime cohort – and Bobby, the youngin of the threesome who is a street kid who takes refuge at the junk shop and looks at Don as a father figure.â€
The plot begins when something small and seemingly plain turns out to be extraordinary.
â€œThe catalyst of the play is a customer comes in, finds a Buffalo Nickel, and Don doesnâ€™t really understand how much itâ€™s worth and they end up bartering and he ends up selling the nickel for $90,â€ she said. â€œThese people are low lifes, crooks, and he decides that he wants to go and steal the nickel back. Thatâ€™s what happens through the play: they plan it, they plot it.â€
Susan Clement-Toberer ties in the plot and themes with greed on many different scales, from petty theft to Wall Street fraud.
â€œOne of the main themes is â€˜How far will you go to get what you want? What boundaries will you cross to get what you want? What is the most important thing thatâ€™s driving your life?â€™â€
Bringing the script to life is a small ensemble cast.
â€œI have fantastic actors, I have Jerry Longe who plays Donny, and I have Thomas Becker who plays Teach, and Jonathan Purcell who plays Bobby,â€ she said.
Susan Clement-Toberer points out that delivery is key, especially in terms of silence, space, and rhythm.
â€œBecause you have non sequiturs. Itâ€™s very similar to [Samuel Beckettâ€™s] Waiting for Godot,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s cyclical at times, sometimes itâ€™s severely linear, sometimes you back up and say the same thing about a different subject but you use the same words.â€
She says that the set is also important and the level of detail creates a strong sense of authenticity.
â€œItâ€™s been an amazing process watching Amy Reiner, whose Production Manager and Props Genius create a junk shop on our stage here at the BLUEBARN. It really is a sight to behold.â€
Speaking of the space, this is the last season the BLUEBARN will be in its current location on 11th street. Starting next season, productions will be staged in their new building at 10th and Pacific.
The BLUEBARN Theatreâ€™s production of American Buffalo by David Mamet opens this Thursday and runs through Saturday, October 25. For tickets and more information, visit www.bluebarn.org.
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