Christopher Flynn's Reviews > Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

Three Uses of the Knife by David Mamet
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's review
Apr 24, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 20th-century, drama, criticism, polemic
Read in April, 2008

Very compelling, intriguing, opinionated as all hell, but he's earned the right to that. It's not always about drama, really, as against modern society's attempts to divert us from drama. Against TV, against the "Information Age," against movies with vague montages 7/10ths of the way through set to cheesy music.

But there are points where he usefully clarifies those moments in the drama where things need to happen, on honest vs. dishonest uses of dramatization, and on the notion of drama as the desperate search for equilibrium. Mamet seems to be in the Auden school of art being unable to save us morally, politically, and he goes off on the problem play as a problem for this reason. It's hard to dismiss Merchant of Venice, though, and that's where that argument tends. Still, a worthwhile read for sure.

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