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Speed-the-Plow


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A: David Mamet Pf: 1988, New York Pb: 1988 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Gould's office and home, Hollywood, 1980s C: 2m, 1fBobby Gould, just promoted to Head of Production in a big film studio, learns from his friend and junior Charlie Fox that a top director is so interested in one of their scripts set in a prison that he is offering to ‘cross the street’ and work for their production company. Excited at the prospect and congratulating each other on their mutual loyalty, the two men set up a meeting with the company chief the following day. Fox bets Gould $500 that he cannot date his temporary secretary Karen that evening. Admitting that he is a ‘whore’ interested only in the money-making potential of a script, Gould gets Karen to read a book about increasing levels of radiation and arranges for her to call at his home – and so has won the bet. That evening, Karen enthuses about the book. When Gould doubts that he can push a film about ‘the End of the World’, Karen insists that the book's message about feeling frightened is relevant to everyone. She then surprises Gould by offering herself to him. The next morning, Gould is a changed man, who recognizes that until now his life has been a sham. He infuriates Fox by telling him that he's dropping the prison film and making the radiation film instead. However, when Fox gets Karen to admit that she would not have slept with Gould if he had rejected ‘her’ film, Gould admits: ‘I wanted to do Good…But I became foolish.’ Gould and Fox leave for the meeting to push the prison film.

A: David Mamet Pf: 1988, New York Pb: 1988 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Gould's office and home, Hollywood, 1980s C: 2m, 1f

The title, an old-fashioned rural wish for prosperity, reflects the cynicism of the film industry, which deals in profits not art. Mamet, well acquainted with his subject, continues American theatre's attack on the movies, which dates back at least as far as Once in a Lifetime. The Broadway premiere featured Madonna in the role of Karen.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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David Mamet (b. 1947) American dramatist, director, and screenwriter


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