Mamet's Duck Variations
David Mamet's Duck Variations is a 1972 play based around the mundane park bench conversation of two characters, George and Emil. Through the topic of ducks and other various wildlife, the theory of life and the world begins to emerge to reveal feelings about death and their own existence. They search for the importance of a duck's activities as if attempting to find meaning within themselves. Ironically, many of their discussions and ramblings are untrue or irrelevant and leaves the reader or viewer placing them in some position of knowledge or authority which they quite clearly do not have, or deserve for that matter. Whether through the characters Mamet is trying to instill an animalistic instinct within people or their surroundings or not, he does express a simplistic and mechanical similarity between people within society and ducks within nature. It seems fruitless since their theories and opinions are vague and meaningless, and one gets the feeling that the play is pointless and unnecessary, and compared to Mamet's other plays and works it is. The idea that animals have a more natural life, one of purity and responsibility, gives them comfort. They agree on most topics among these ramblings, but never stop to realize that inconsistency of their ideas. In a way the play is thoughtless, but extremely flexible within its themes. By the end of the play there is not much gratification and transformation at all, there is consistency. The consistency of thoughts, often incoherent ones, but thoughts none the less that express life, whether it's far too convoluted or not. This play reminds us of an Albee play, or possibly even one of Beckett's work. There is an eyre of mystery within these words and the cracks are not filled by such. It presents the audience with ideas, most unconnected or incompressible. There is no doubt that this is a play of theory, not of story. In class we discussed many transitional and important works, such as The...
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