"The Disappearance of the Jews": A Scene by David Mamet

Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Mark Liermann, Theatre

Second Advisor

Joan Herrington, Theatre

Third Advisor

Jay Berkow, Theatre


David Mamet


David Mamet's nostalgic and searing work The Old Neighborhood follows the character Bobby as he returns to his childhood Chicago neighborhood in hopes to reconnect to his roots and align his spirit. The play consists of three movements, the first titled "The Disappearance of the Jews". Here, Bobby meets with his old friend Joey in a lonely hotel room on the night of his arrival. Joey never left the neighborhood, and Bobby as well as the audience quickly learns through Joey's revelations that one can never really come home again. At first, conversation is awkward, stiff, and full of classic "Mametspeak" subtext. Soon however, the two men shed their facades and admit their malnourished souls. Bobby longs for the peace and ritual that once was associated with the neighborhood. On the other hand, Joey fantasizes about Holocaust Europe, where a man could have the "chance to stand up." Things darken even more near the end of the scene where both men admit to each other that they have contemplated suicide. Through conversations about golden memories, family, faith, and shattered dreams, Mamet makes bold statements regarding faith in America, masculinity, and the homogenization of our society.


Citation and abstract only.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

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