Performing Arts: Mamet’s American Buffalo at Studio Theatre

by Editorial

Founding Artistic Director Joy Zinoman presents her final production at Studio Theatre – David Mamet’s searing drama American Buffalo.

By Julie LaPorte

Peter Allas, Jimmy Davis and Edward Gero. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Peter Allas, Jimmy Davis and Edward Gero. Photo by Scott Suchman.

If you see only one play this spring, see American Buffalo. Considered David Mamet’s greatest work, it is one of the most powerful and gripping dramas currently on stage in Washington, D.C. Directed by Joy Zinoman and starring Edward Gero, Peter Allas and Jimmy Davis, American Buffalo has been extended through June 20 at the Studio Theatre.

Set in Don’s Resale Shop, which somehow embodies all the grit and despair of 1975 Chicago, American Buffalo tells the story of three petty crooks and the inevitable clash between friendship and business. We are introduced to Donny, philosophical, caring and loyal; Bobby, young, helpless, and trying to stay clean from drugs; and Teach, paranoid, scheming and vain.

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After a collector pays Donny $90 for an American Buffalo nickel, Donny conspires with Bobby to steal the coin back. Teach learns of the plan and convinces Donny to cut Bobby out of the deal and split a greater share of the profits. As the heist draws closer, frustrations build and tensions flare, culminating in a violent confrontation that leaves each one shaken to the core.

Edward Gero as Donny was brilliant. His rough and blustery manner couldn’t hide his soft heart and loyalty to his friends, but he is thoroughly human, capable of weakness that almost proves fatal.

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Jimmy Davis as Bobby was vulnerable and heartbreaking, wanting to do right, but seemingly incapable of following through on good intentions. Every move he made was a visible struggle against his destiny. Peter Allas’ portrayal of Teach crackled with energy and rage. Sowing seeds of doubt in Donny’s mind with questions and subtle inflection, he drove the action of the play to the very edge of destruction. These three men gave everything to their performances and deserve the highest praise.

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All four of the Studio Theatre’s resident designers worked together to present a convincing and stunning mise-en-scene – Set Designer Russell Metheny, Lighting Designer Michael Giannitti, Costume Designer Helen Q. Huang, and Sound Designer Gil Thompson.

For more information and tickets, visit the Studio Theatre.

Edward Gero and Jimmy Davis. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Edward Gero and Jimmy Davis. Photo by Scott Suchman.

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