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About this show

Secrets, riddles and lies. These are the tools with which David Mamet constructs one of the most elliptical and agonizing plays of his career. Concealed intentions, withheld information and emotional manipulation converge to create a tense family puzzle that will irrevocably alter the lives of three people. With what is said to be his most autobiographical of plays, Mamet takes us all back to that place where we first realized the world is a dangerous place. Mamet is notorious for his short rhythmic dialogue - normally the vernacular of tough guys and no-nonsense conmen. In The Cryptogram he takes this signature style to another level, adding a barrage of overlapping talk and uncompleted thoughts. His characters are constantly pitted against one another, interrupted or shut down, left with little ground to stand on. The result is a world of feverish anxiety and instability. In a more familiar Mamet world of gangsters, real estate hustlers and petty thieves this might charm and entrance us. But in The Cryptogram, where a 10-year-old boy teeters in that tricky world between childhood and adulthood, the spectacle of watching the trusting innocence of youth be confronted by the damaged cynicism is heartbreaking.

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