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Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross

by David Mamet

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(7) Snow Line

Mamet's style is all his own, and if you're not used to it, it can take a while to grasp some of the tricks he's playing with language. As a reader it's about a seven on the tough-o-meter (stick with it, and you'll get it), but as an actor, Mamet's a ten on—it can take even the best performers a while to figure out how to handle that Mamet patter. Here's a little taste:

MOSS: It's too…

AARONOW: It is.

MOSS: Eh?

AARONOW: It's too…

MOSS: You get a bad month, all of a…

AARONOW: You're on this…

MOSS: All of, they got you on this "board…"

AARONOW: I, I…I…

MOSS: Some
contest board. (1.2.65-73)

Yeah—that is not an easy scene to memorize or play. However, when it's done right, it's gold. When attacking Mamet, it's important to find the rhythm of the scene. Remember, sometimes characters are not directly responding to what someone else is saying—sometimes they're simply finishing their own thought from earlier. It's key to figure out why lines are broken the way they are. Starting slow and working your way up in pace gradually can go a long way.

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