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In The Old Neighborhood David Mamet confirms his stature as a master of the American stage, a writer who can turn the most innocuous phrase into a lit fuse and a family reunion into a perfectly orchestrated firestorm of sympathy, yearning, and blistering authentic rage.
In these three short plays, a middle-aged Bobby Gould returns to the old-neighborhood in a series of encounters with his past that, however briefly, open windows on his present. In "The Disappearance of the Jews," Bobby and an old buddy fantasize about finding themselves in a nostalgic shtetl paradise while revealing how lost they are in their own families. In the comfort of her kitchen, Bobby's sister "Jolly" unscrolls a list of childhood grievances that is at nice painful and hilarious. And the old girlfriend in "Deeny," faced with a man she once loved, finds herself obsessively free-associating on gardening, sex, and subatomic particles. Swerving from comedy to terror, from tenderness to anguish—with a swiftness that unsettles even as it strikes home—The Old Neighborhood is classic Mamet.