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American Buffalo: Synthetic Unlimited’s production a strong start in new location

Synthetic Unlimited continues its run of “American Buffalo” through next week at its new Grass Valley location.

The nonprofit theater group known for producing edgier plays is well within its wheelhouse with David Mamet’s 1975 script, “American Buffalo.” The gritty comedy features locals Gary Wright, Micah Cone and Tom Wolfe.

Staged at the company’s new Synthetic Unlimited Opera House at 120 Joerschke Drive, the play involves Don, Teach and Bobby, three low-life Chicago characters who swap stories and insults in Don’s cluttered junk shop and conspire to steal a rare coin collection.

As junk shop owner Don draws a new kid into the plot, they turn against each other and him. Mamet is known for his terse, vulgar writing style, with the three characters using the F-word, and C-word liberally and engaging in audacious stage violence, according to Synthetic Unlimited.

Despite the language, Director Jimmy McCammon writes, “One common element in most of Mamet’s writing is that every character he creates ultimately gives the audience reason to doubt their morality, thereby taking the old hero/villain archetypes we are used to and consistently turning them on their head. So if you are looking for the bad guy in a Mamet play, you would do well to look at everyone, including yourself.”

Wright’s local acting credits include 15 seasons as an associate artist with the Foothill Theatre Company, where he appeared in more than 60 productions, and two solo shows at LeGacy Productions.

Regional credits include appearances at the B Street Theatre, Capital Stage, Music Circus, Sacramento Theatre Company, and the Lake Tahoe, Colorado, and Oregon Shakespeare festivals.

McCammon, who also manages Synthetic Unlimited, writes, “This play is about friendship and why we try, with varying success, to separate it from business relationships. We want our friends to do well, but we want our business associates to do just slightly less well than ourselves.”

This realistic, cutthroat attitude is rigorously delivered by these three high-level actors, punctuated by the creative set by Pam Hodges and the real-life garage setting of the new Synthetic Unlimited Opera House, according to the organization.

Next in the season for Synthetic Unlimited is “Bombshell,” an all-girl dance show, May 9-17, and “True West,” by Sam Shepard, June 12-28. The rest of the 2014 season includes a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” and “Evil Dead: The Musical.”

“American Buffalo” runs through April 26. Tonight’s show starts at 8 p.m. and there is a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursdays and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $20, or $15 for Synthetic Unlimited members, and are available at www.syntheticunlimited.org, 1-888-95-SHOWS, or at BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley.

More information about season passes is available on the Synthetic Unlimited website, Facebook page or on location during office hours, noon-6 p.m. Thursday- Sunday.


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The Union Updated Apr 19, 2014 01:58AM Published Apr 19, 2014 01:58AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.