The Shotgun Players dig through the increasingly ubiquitous David Mamet's work for two obscure one-acts. In All Men are Whores, love and affection are dissected into biology: the need to propagate the species. 'We would all reproduce like paramecium if we could,' says a scholarly looking man (George Killingworth), book in hand. A couple - the man (Richard Silberg) pumps iron, the woman (Judy Phillips) kneads dough - expound on their typically Mamet-esque relationship (they fuck right after they meet, he wants to hit her) in fragmented vignettes that bespeak their isolation. While Silberg seems a bit distracted, Phillips' sensuous but unhappy woman is strong. The Shawl concerns a charlatan clairvoyant (Killingworth) trying to bilk a wealthy troubled woman (Phillips). He amazes his young male lover (Silberg) with the odd details he ferrets from his patroness' past. It all comes down to three things, he says: 'Money, illness and love.' Killingworth is especially convincing here as the conniving yet benign pseudo-psychic concerned with issues of truth, persuasion and illusion. Director Patrick Dooley's slow pacing imparts a chugging, suspenseful buildup perfect for this intriguing work.
"The Shotgun Players present All Men are Whores and The Shawl, two lesser-known David Mamet one-act moral enquiries, directed by Patrick Dooley. In the first, Judy Phillips, as the dough-kneading woman, is the strongest of this unlively and typical tableau. Richard Silberg, as her iron-pumping lover, ably provides the testosterone talk. And George Killingworth, as the sage from left stage, is nicely ruminative but at odds with the play's fragmentary style of speech and scene. The Shawl works better, perhaps because it's a better play. Here, as in his House of Games, Mamet finds intriguing dramatic form for his conundrums. In this story of a psychic wooing his sidekick by conning a woman out of her wealth, Killingworth's thin-voiced charm, Silberg's attentiveness, Phillips' solid emotional range, and Dooley's watchfully paced direction are better employed. Even the inevitable upstairs noise at this venue added something, evoking as it did thoughts of a boardwalk fortune-teller.