- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mamet’s life mirrors art

David Mamet was as profane and abusive as the expletive-spewing characters in his plays when he taught theater classes at New York University, a new book reveals.

In her upcoming memoir, “Take Your Shirt Off and Cry,” actress-playwright Nancy Balbirer recalls how the acerbic author of “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Speed-the-Plow” freaked when his students spoke too quietly, the New York Post reported in Monday’s editions.

“‘Get the [bleep] off my stage! Now,’ he’d bellow … ‘And,’ he’d continue, his short, burly body bouncing around like a school-yard bully in need of his daily Ritalin, ‘Don’t [bleep]ing come back until we can hear you. How dare you? You’re whispering. On the stage. It’s [bleep]ing passive-aggressive. You know, only people who are full of [bleep] whisper,’ ” Miss Balbirer writes.

When one student asked Mr. Mamet who his favorite actresses were, he exploded: “Women who act are not actresses. They’re actors. Why do they need to [bleep]ing qualify what their genitalia are? Folks, seriously, I need to disabuse you of the notion that ‘actress’ is anything other than a euphemism for ‘floozy’ … Do women [bleep]ing writers call themselves ‘writresses?’ No!”

Miss Balbirer - who appeared on “Seinfeld” and wrote and performed the solo show “I Slept With Jack Kerouac” - says Mr. Mamet advised her, “There’s nothing worse than being a woman in show business …. you’ll be asked to do only two things in every [bleep]ing role you ever play: take your shirt off and cry.”

He also told his class he considered critics “the syphilis and gonorrhea of the theater.”

The book hits stores in April.

Woody jazzes it up

An audience of almost 3,000 clapped and cheered as Woody Allen and his jazz band gave their first-ever concert in Poland on Sunday.

The filmmaker, playing the clarinet, was accompanied by his New Orleans Jazz Band for a two-hour performance of traditional jazz at Warsaw’s biggest concert hall, Sala Kongresowa. The 73-year-old Oscar winner’s solo parts, as well as those of other band members, were welcomed with applause, Associated Press says, and he received a standing ovation at the end.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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