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Profanity takes center stage
Patterson Theatre to present 'American Buffalo'
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Teach (Spencer Reza), tries to provoke answers out of the youngest and most vulnerable member of "American Buffalo's" criminal trio, Bobby (Daniel Moody), as Don (Michael Hewitt) the junk shop owner awaits answers from the interrogation. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

With a title like “American Buffalo,” spectators would most likely be expecting a corny western, but in reality, they’d be introduced to an adult feature that professes profanities just as easily as blinking.

David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” looks into the life of three small time crooks living in Chicago during the 1970s who have a plan to pilfer a man of his coin collection for the valuable “Buffalo nickel.”

The rugged dialogue correlates with the only three characters that populate the stage.

The youngest member of the thieves, Bobby, played by Daniel Moody, is a recovering drug addict, just barely teetering between childhood and adulthood. His character resembles that of a greaser, just a good kid on the wrong side of the tracks.

Despite his setbacks, some fault for Bobby’s simple mindedness rests with Don, played by Michael Hewitt, the junk store owner and unconventional father figure who involves Bobby in a plot to steal a rich man’s valuable coin.

As for the third character, expect to hear and see the worst. Teach, played by Spencer Reza, acts as the master-mind of the robbery, and blathers with profane authority over his “friends.” His most common phrase is notably the F-word, but take note that it will not be the most offensive word that he will utter throughout the play.

“Mamet says so many things that men think but do not say out loud because of women and society. This show is not socially acceptable, but I think that is what makes it refreshing and different,” director Joshua Morriston said.

In terms of language, Morriston agrees that this is far cry from a family-friendly production, but argues that no sexuality or any other mature themes are explored. The dialogue driven play focuses on a grisly speech pattern designed to prop you out of your seats and beg your attention.

“I love David Mamet and his use of language. He plays with the English language, and this play is an exploration of that,” said Morriston.

“This is an all male cast and male oriented play. The beauty of it is you have three different male characters, and there is something for every man to identify with. It is a brilliant play to connect with.”

Morriston encourages youths 15 and older to attend, especially those who don’t believe they have an appreciation for theatre.

“I want them to take away a better and deeper appreciation for theatre in this area. That is why I chose the show I did. Everyone has seen the movies, but no one even knows that they were plays before,” Morriston said of similar productions such as “Wait Until Dark” and “Barefoot in the Park.”

“Theatre has variety,” said Morriston. “This is a play that will have audience go ‘Oh, wow!’”

This is Morriston’s seventh production for Patterson Repertory Theatre. His previous works include “Reindeer Monologues,” “Macbeth,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf,” “Wait Until Dark,” “Barefoot in the Park,” and “Cross the Line.”

“American Buffalo” runs Friday to March 2, with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m.  Sunday at the Patterson High School auditorium located at 200 N. 7th Street. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. For more information, call 499-9363.