David Mamet Wrote the Sexual Assault Play No One Needs. No, a Different One.


There are a lot of ways to react to the slew of sexual harassment and assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein and many of Hollywood’s leading men. If you’re David Mamet, you respond with art.

In a new profile in the Chicago Tribune promoting his book, Chicago, Mamet admitted to having recently penned a new play, and what an origin story he gives it:

“I was talking with my Broadway producer and he said, ‘Why don’t you write a play about Harvey Weinstein?’ And so I did.”

Wow, same with me and writing 5,000 words of Gundam Wing slash fiction in junior high. Someone just needed to ask, and my ideas came pouring out of me. Mamet actually has some experience writing plays about sexual misconduct scandals, because he also dove into the cultural moment with Oleanna, written shortly after Anita Hill came forward with accusations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Oleanna—a classic He Said She Said tale that ends with a woman being beaten, where the real villain is PC culture, which drove her attacker to it!

But it is possible that Mamet’s take on Weinstein will be entirely more nuanced; it’s been decades since he wrote Oleanna. Perhaps Mamet won’t sympathize with the abuser, or leave us questioning who was telling the truth about misogyny and power imbalances. Let’s see what his tortured genius brain is noodling on:

“I think about this a lot now. I have a bunch of daughters, a young son,” he says. “Every society has to confront the ungovernable genie of sexuality and tries various ways to deal with it and none of them work very well. There is great difficulty when you are switching modes, which we seem to be doing now. People go crazy. They start tearing each other to bits.”

Da genie is outta the bottle and it’s rubbing all up on everybody. What are ya gonna do? Govern the genie? Put it in handcuffs? Make it pay taxes? Good luck! It’s magic and it’s horny. Anyone who tries to stop the genie from popping in and out of any lamp it wants will basically turn into a wolf. And then you’re the animal. Think about it.

There is no sign that this play will be produced anywhere, anytime soon. Maybe if he threw in some more specific details about how this has all become a witch hunt and people don’t know the difference between rape and hug anymore? Just spitballing here; I’m no “Broadway producer.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin