Shopping Cart
Your cart is empty.

        We accept PayPal, Visa & Mastercard
        through our secure checkout.

 

Mastercard                              

 

The Cryptogram

The Cryptogram
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: David Mamet
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 59
Pub. Date: 1995
ISBN-10: 0822214954
ISBN-13: 9780822214953
Cast Size: 1 female, 1 male, 1 boy

About the Play:

Finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and Winner of the OBIE Award

The Cryptogram is a full length comedy by David Mamet. In this gripping family tragedy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Glengarry Glen Ross endows ordinary language with Hitchcockian menace and Kafkaesque powers of disorientation. David Mamet's autobiographical masterpiece, The Cryptogram is a journey back into childhood and the moment of its vanishing – the moment when the sheltering world is suddenly revealed as a place full of dangers.

The Cryptogram is about the betrayal of the boy by his parents, pinpointing the moment when childhood finally vanishes. A young boy, John, comes downstairs to tell about his upcoming trip with his dad to the family friend, Dell. Mother, Donnie, is in the kitchen making tea. Soon the three are discussing the excitement of the trip, why John can't sleep, and why Donnie's husband and John's father, Robert, is not yet home from work. Consenting to try to sleep, and on his way upstairs, John finds a note on the steps for Donnie: Robert is leaving her. Over the next month Donnie finds solace with her old friend Dell, as they try to comfort John, who becomes ill with fever. Still not sleeping, John consistently interrupts with his fears of not sleeping, and with questions about life and death. While John comes in and out of the living room, Donnie quizzes Dell about discrepancies she's noticed lately. Dell avoids her probes, but Donnie asks about her husband's Air Force knife now in Dell's possession. Saying Robert gave it to him on a camping trip, and finding out Donnie knows there was no trip, Dell finally admits to allowing his apartment to be used by Robert for an affair, with the knife being a payoff. Thinking Donnie will forgive him, Dell is jolted when she throws him out of her house. John still can't sleep, and worries more about death as he is now visited by voices. Realizing Donnie's thrown him out of her life, Dell tries once more to set things right. He visits and begins to convey his life and decisions he's had to make, and how he's relied on the relationship they have all had over the years. Donnie goes further into a state of panic and anxiety. She has been betrayed by all the men in her life and she's not willing to forgive Dell. John all the while keeps interrupting and telling his mother about the voices he hears and how he still can't sleep. He needs the blanket already packed; he needs her help to rid himself of the voices. So angry and annoyed, Donnie allows John to carry the Air Force knife, open, upstairs to cut the string on the box which holds the blanket. As John pleads for help to rid himself of the voices, he goes upstairs, knife in hand, as the lights fade.

The Cryptogram premiered in 1994 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End, followed by US productions in 1995 at the American Repertory Theater in Boston and then Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater Upstairs, winning the OBIE Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. Revived in London's Off West End at the Donmar Warehouse in 2006, it has been performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 1 female, 1 male, 1 boy

What people say:

"First-rate… spooky, elliptical, full of wit.... Not in any stage literature that I know has childhood been as movingly evoked as it is in The Cryptogram." — The New York Times

"Heart stopping.... Where other dramatists are writing melodrama about the dysfunctional family, Mamet has written high tragedy." — The Boston Herald

"Powerful.... His most personal work.... A whodunit with the it waiting to happen.... Spooky and exciting." — Newsweek

"Daring, dark, complex, brilliant.... I suspect that in time it will take its place among Mamet's major works." — The New Yorker

"It's impossible to imagine anyone being prepared for the closing seconds of The Cryptogram, a quietly shattering finale that caps eighty of the most densely packed, emotionally searing minutes this season – or any recent season, for that matter – has offered." — Variety

"Mamet is… an original playwright…. Using time-stained material, he has invented an original and vastly interesting play…." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

David Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter as well as a director, novelist, poet, and essayist. He has written the screenplays for more than twenty films, including the Oscar-nominated The Verdict. His more than twenty plays include the Pulitzer Prizewinning Glengarry Glen Ross. His other awards include a Tony Award, an Academy Award, two OBIE Awards, two New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, and Outer Circle, Society of West End Theatre, and Dramatists Guild Hall-Warriner Awards.

Related Products

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
Your Price: $20.95 CDN
True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
David Mamet
Glengarry Glen Ross
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Glengarry Glen Ross
David Mamet
Speed-The-Plow
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Speed-The-Plow
David Mamet
Three Uses of the Knife
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Three Uses of the Knife
David Mamet
Lakeboat
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Lakeboat
David Mamet
The Frog Prince
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
The Frog Prince
David Mamet