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(L-R) Hans Altwies and Zachary Simonson in American Buffalo at
Seattle Repertory Theatre. Photo by Chris Bennion.

 

Mamet Speak: Profane Poetry

Mamet’s plays usually contain terse dialogue that is chock-full of profanity. At first it might seem as if anyone could master Mamet speak just by spewing curse words, but Zachary Simonson, who plays Bobby, pointed out that the language in American Buffalo is actually very precise and measured. “There's a term called ‘profane poetry’ which very well describes what's going on,” he said. He explained that many lines are written in iambic pentameter, the same verse meter that Shakespeare used. These carefully crafted lines lend a rhythm to the dialogue that implies a variety of emotions as it fluctuates throughout the play. “I don’t know that I've ever done anything that's this rich before,” said Zach.

We’re having some fun with American Buffalo's language too. Check out our blog, where we’re keeping count of how many curse words are spoken on stage for the duration of the show.