CLOSED: Speed-the-Plow @ ATC

“Blew a hole in the roof with a searing double bill of David Mamet plays, giving us the best-ever takes on these angry dramas.” Chicago Sun-Times, Hedy Weiss

“American Theater Company unleashed pitch-perfect actors Darrell W. Cox and Lance Baker as the well-dressed but foul-mouthed Hollywood whores of this vicious satire on motion picture deal-making. Often simply too, too darkly comic to laugh.” WBEZ City Room blog, Jonathan Abarbanel

“Technically brilliant and very entertaining… Speed-the-Plow, a savage parable of film-industry deal making, feels as fresh today as on its debut. A town ruled by bullshit purveyors who rival Teach and Ricky Roma, Hollywood must have been a kind of hellish promised land for Mamet; it inspires him to new heights of gleeful sophistry in the exuberant scenes between bottom-feeding execs Bobby Gould (Cox) and Charlie Fox (Baker). Snyder and his actors stage their parries and thrusts masterfully, nailing the bebop phrasing of their connivances. Lowrance holds her own as temporary secretary Karen, championing a morose novel that thinly parodies the likes of Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy.” Time Out Chicago, John Beer

“Mamet is always about the acting. “Speed-the-Plow” features the loving ministrations of Lance Baker, who nails a character smart enough to know that the gods of showbiz usually offer only one shot, and that no pain in life is more acute than seeing that opportunity slip out of your fingers. Boy, does Baker show us.”  Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones

“Three powerful actors present a brief but thoroughly engaging piece of theatre. The fight scene between the two men is particularly visceral and vivacious.  This kind of full-force entertainment makes getting off the couch to come to the theatre a necessity.”  Centerstage, Marla Seidell

“Although I’ve never actually seen someone’s eyeballs turn into dollar signs, Lance Baker’s portrayal of Charlie Fox in ATC’s Speed-the-Plow comes pretty close. Baker bounces around like he’s had far too much coffee.  ”   Chicago Theater Blog, Scotty Zacher

“Director Rick Snyder lets his fine cast go for all the intensity contained. Cox and Baker quickly established a workable stage chemistry.  These three actors sure leave it all on stage.”, Tom Williams

**** – Tribune

**** – Sun-Times

**** – Time Out

I found the production of STP last night terrible. I have no idea what you are talking about. This is a great play whose words were made subordinate to poor overacting and 2-dimensional directing. Too bad that such a powerful lament on people – friends – as functions in our lives was completely lost on the folks at ATC. I certainly won’t be back for Oleanna.

Posted by: Sarah | October 04, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I saw the show last night, as well, Sarah. Could not disagree more. We had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Mamet done so boldly. To each his own. I have to say, however, I question your take on the play–‘a lament on friends’? I don’t think “Speed the Plow” has anything to do with friendship. However, that’s the beauty of the arts, opinion is not fact. Again, thoroughly enjoyed the entire production.

Posted by: Samantha | October 04, 2010 at 01:21 PM

Samantha, I’m surprised you don’t think that Speed-The-Plow has anything to do with friendship. Would be interested to hear what the subject of the play is, if not that.

Posted by: Colin C. | October 07, 2010 at 10:09 AM


About Lance Baker

An actor and director in Chicago and on the road.

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