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The Global Film Village: David Mamet's "The Voysey Inheritance" by Marla Lewin


"The Voysey Inheritance" is a play about greed involving an upper class family's crisis and ponzi schemes, sound familiar? 


Harley Granville-Barker, one of the most unfamiliar playwrights of the early 20th century, wrote the play over 100 years ago in 1905. Barker, also an accomplished actor was overshadowed by the fame of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. Granville-Barker also wrote detailed notes on how to stage Shakespeare. In 2006 David Mamet, one of Americas' most famous writers adapted the play which opens THEATRE 40's 2009-2010 season. 

"The Voysey Inheritance" with it's great writing, terrific cast, grand set, and beautiful period costumes, we can understand why they are celebrating their 44th year.  The theatre is on the grounds of the Beverly Hills high school, and you should rush to see it as it is now scheduled to end on July 19th. 


Mamet cut the original play down by more than an hour in its running time. He also simplified the large cast and more tightly focused the narrative. This is the second time in recent years that a Mamet piece foreshadows recent events that overtake society. First with WAG THE DOG and the Clinton political scandal and now with "The Voysey Inheritance" and the Madoff affair. We probably need to see what he is working on currently to predict where the world will be focused a few months from now.

David Mamet, who wrote and directed many films including STATE AND MAIN, and SPARTAN. He has also been honored as a screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (Paul Newman) and WAG THE DOG ( Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro). Mamet is considered one of the most famous American stage and screen voices, known for weaving tales of ordinary men, particularly con men into the fabric of his stories.  An example of this is his play "Glengarry Glen Ross", which won him a Pulitzer Prize and was made into award winning movie. My husband Marc distributed Mamet's STATE AND MAIN at Fine Line Features, one of my personal favorites, deals with corrupt small town politicians with Hollywood when a film crew comes to make a movie and stirs up the local water and women.

I first met David Mamet when he started the St. Nicholas Theatre in Chicago with a cast of characters with whom he still remains friends, and continues to work with often referred to as the Mamet players.  I sat next to him at American Buffalo, and didn't fully get it until, I saw the film version some years later.  Then I realized David wasn't writing Shakespeare, he was writing about the everyday man and his own epic struggles. 


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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.


Los Angeles

United States

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