THEATER: BAD MEMORY: DAVID MAMET AND NEIL SIMON GET NOSTALGIC

DAVID MAMET AND NEIL SIMON GET NOSTALGIC

Beware of autobiography. An artist who draws on his own life for subject matter may, in the process of working out private demons, be unlocking major creative forces. But rummaging through that old trunk in the attic can just as easily be a sign of flagging inspiration. Of course, it may also be a smart marketing move: in the age of Oprah, a writer who abandons boring fiction in favor of juicy self-revelation is apt to win friends and influence critics.

David Mamet has created some compelling fictions in his time--about small-time crooks (American Buffalo), real-estate hustlers (Glengarry Glen Ross), conniving...

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