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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Report Card---"The Anarchist"

Seeing "The Anarchist" on Broadway two weeks ago was certainly an unusual experience
for me.
It was a Sunday Matinee, and it was its last performance.
I had never before witnessed a last performance of any play, excluding my own.
So there was an added layer of drama.
I made sure that I got to see it, because I have attempted to never miss a David Mamet play.
He can toss up three or four bad ones in a row, but that won't prevent me from lining up to catch the fifth one.
Because he is simply the best we have.
Same thing with Woody Allen, who has been sharing a similar batting average lately, but I'm still standing at the plate to receive the next pitch.
"The Anarchist" was roundly skewered by the New York critics, which didn't affect me at all, but certainly affected it's box office receipts and caused it to abbreviate it's very short run.
Why bother to review a play that has already closed?
Well, plays have a tendency to have an afterlife in subsequent productions, and you never know when it might reach your town.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

It builds slowly, but snowballs with interest as it proceeds.

Compelling even?

Here and there.

Is it controversial?

It is all about controversy. When has a prisoner served enough time for her crime?

Is it a story worth telling?

Very much.

Is it good storytelling?


Is it well written?

Mamet always writes better than anybody.

Is it well cast? Well played?, Well staged?

An interesting dichotomy.
It is a two-character play.
The actors are Patti Lupone, probably our most compelling actress, and Debra Winger,
probably our most boring actress.
Yes, Lupone has the meatier part, but if you reversed the roles,it would have been interminable.

Is it too long? Too short?

It was only seventy minutes.
Let me say that again.
Seventy minutes.
That's either a rather long one-act play, or an extremely short full-length play.
And we are charged the same prices for plays that run for two hours and change.
Somebody should step up to the plate and complain about this.
Allow me to be the first.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

You believe, and you care.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Not predictable, and it surprises you.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Quite a bit.

Is it funny?

Almost never. And Mamet is certainly capable of providing humor.

Was it worth the eighty bucks it cost?

Can't say that it was.

Is it impressive ?

Mamet is always impressive, even in his failures.

Overall grade: B-.

It didn't nearly deserve the thrashing it got from the N.Y. critics.
Perhaps some re-tooling and lengthening might serve it well in the future.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."