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The Cryptogram

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Title: The Cryptogram  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Eddie Izzard, Kim Cattrall, Felicity Huffman, Donmar Warehouse, Will Rothhaar, Lindsay Duncan, Westside Theatre, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Cryptogram

This article is about a 1994 American play. "The Cryptogram" is also the name of the periodical by the American Cryptogram Association.

The Cryptogram is a 1995 play by American playwright David Mamet. The play concerns the moment when childhood is lost. The story is set in 1959 on the night before a young boy is to go on a camping trip with his father.


The Cryptogram was originally produced in July 1994 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, starring Eddie Izzard and Lindsay Duncan and directed by Gregory Mosher.[1][2]

The Cryptogram opened at the American Repertory Theater, Boston in February 1995.[3] It opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater Upstairs on April 13, 1995. The production was directed by David Mamet with a cast that featured Shelton Dane (John), Ed Begley, Jr. (Del) and Felicity Huffman (Donny).[4] The play won the Obie Award, Best Play and Performance, Huffman for 1995.

It was produced at the Donmar Warehouse (London) in October 2006 through November 2006 with Kim Cattrall as Donny, Douglas Henshall as Del and Oliver Coopersmith as John with direction by Josie Rourke.[5][2]

Critical reception

The CurtainUp reviewer wrote of the 2006 Donmar production: "David Mamet’s play 'The Cryptogram', about the break up of a marriage from a child’s point of view, has a lasting impact beyond its slight sixty five minutes in the theatre.... The dialogue brims with that distinctive Mamet style of unfinished sentences and jabbing, intercepting, interrupted conversation..... The adults are very repetitive as is the boy when his stream of questions is not answered.... It seems that what we are watching is the child’s memory of the events of that night and the day, weeks later, when he has to move out of his home. There are too many gaps that seem improbable from an adult’s point of view, like Donny’s reaction to the note from her husband leaving her. No asking, Why? No talk about a meeting with her husband..... It is very difficult for English actors to play Mamet well, to get the timing perfect but under Josie Rourke’s direction this cast pulls it off."[6]


External links

  • Internet Off-Broadway Database Listing


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