In his play "Edmond", David Mamet paints a savage
and frightening picture of society. The play traces the fall of a
businessman who goes on a whirlwind ride of self-destruction after
being shaken by an encounter with a fortune teller.
The play itself is composed of around twenty three
different scenes, with many of them lasting only a few pages. The
episodes, however, are all significant in some way as they help to
relate the tale of a lost man in a lost society. The dialogue is
strikingly non-realistic, instead it has been honed down and edited to
contain only the most essential words. This seems to give all the
characters a brash, rough and straightforward sense. They speak in a
language that is almost foreign to our ears, and they live a life that
is more alien than alike.
These different scenes follow Edmond as he tries to
buy a prostitute, as he gets mugged, as he pawns his wedding ring for a
survival knife. He asks a waitress back to his apartment, and after a
discussion ruthlessly murders her. The audience becomes alienated from
Edmond as they see the dark qualities of his character being brought to
light in the scenes. As the play progresses he expresses his racism
more openly. After he is arrested for the murder of the waitress he is
placed in a jail cell with a huge black cell-mate, who rapes him.
As Edmond sits locked in his cell the play takes a
satirical and somewhat humorous turn. Edmond rails against God for
making the world such a terrible place, as over the course of the play
he has learned not to take responsibility for his actions. He takes
turns with his cellmate in explaining the reason for mankind's
existence on this earth, ironically late for introspection and
philosophy to save him. After they are through with their surprisingly
deep discussions, the play ends as they kiss each other goodnight.