Friendship Collides with Crime in Post Productions’ American Buffalo
Things are not always what they appear to be. David Mamet’s American Buffalo is famous for changing the course of American theatre – and for featuring more naughty words per minute than audiences could deal with when it premiered in 1975. But Post Productions hopes their production of this explosive play will help audiences appreciate the deeper reasons its 44-year shadow still lies across the world of contemporary storytelling.
In the briefest terms, American Buffalo is about three small-time criminals – Don (played by Joey Ouellette), Teach (played by Mark Lefebvre), and Bobby (played by Seamus Tokol) – whose scheme to rob a coin collector of a rare nickel goes disastrously awry, testing the limits of their loyalty to each other and their commitment to what they see as the American Dream.
Co-director Michael O’Reilly says American Buffalo still connects with audiences because it’s about situations we still face today. “This is really a play about how a lot of families work,” he explains. “We see this played out all across Canada and the U.S. – where steady and abiding dysfunction is nurtured through generations. Jealousy, deceit, and mistrust are not that different from freckles or flat feet. We pass them on.”
Destructive emotions become worse when we’re desperate, anxious, and frustrated. Says O’Reilly, “As we also see in plays like Sam Shepard’s True West, the American Dream has let people down. Yet their belief in that dream, and in each other, endures. Even while they’re undercutting each other. It’s like watching trains collide. You can’t look away.”
The script for American Buffalo is notoriously difficult to master, so Post Productions is grateful to have three highly experienced actors on board. “We couldn’t have asked for better,” says co-director Michael K. Potter. “This play requires intense commitment, and this cast has been fully invested since day one.” O’Reilly agrees: “It’s been a director’s dream. Even though our youngest cast member, Seamus Tokol, is just 17 and he’s just graduated from WCCA at Walkerville, this is his 29th production. Joey Ouellette and Mark Lefebvre have countless credits under their belts. So all through the process, this cast has come to the table with fresh ideas and smart solutions to whatever problem we’ve faced”.
It’s all in the service of a story that is both deadly serious and shockingly funny, a play that will rattle audiences to their bones and leave them wondering. “You can enjoy American Buffalo as a great story with rich characters performed by gifted actors,” says Potter. “But if you’re paying attention, this story has an awful lot to say. You might find yourself thinking about it all day long, applying its questions to your own life. I have.”
American Buffalo. Written by David Mamet. Directed by Michael O’Reilly and Michael K. Potter. Produced by Michael K. Potter, Fay Lynn, and Michael O’Reilly. Performed at The Shadowbox Theatre (103B – 1501 Howard Ave, the corner of Howard and Shepherd).
Performances July 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18 19, 20. All performances begin at 8:00 PM (doors open at 7:30).