, Newburyport, MA

October 25, 2012

Tackling Hollywood

'Speed-the-Plow' offers satirical look at film industry

By Katie Lovett Features Editor
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Since he first heard of David Mamet’s play, “Speed-the-Plow,” Marc Clopton has wanted to stage the production at his black box theater in Newburyport.

A “great fan” of Mamet’s for many years, the topic of the play also resonates with him, Clopton said “Speed-the-Plow” offers a satirical look at the American entertainment industry.

He’s getting his wish. After eight weeks of rehearsals, the production will open tomorrow. It runs through Nov. 11.

“Filled with Mamet’s trademark, rapid-fire dialogue, Speed-the-Plow focuses on the ruthless nature of the film industry and the ambition that fuels it,” according to the show’s promoters. “In a year of political power Olympics, this play is a must see.”

The play follows the storyline of Bobby Gould, the newly appointed head of production for a major film studio, as he is visited by his friend who touts his client’s newest script.

Both men see the work as their ticket to “the big time.”

As the show progresses, the culture of Hollywood is unveiled, which is as corrupt as the society it is supposed to depict, promoters say. In creating his play, Mamet drew from his own experiences working in Hollywood in the 1980s.

Mamet has created a world “that’s very readily comprehensible” to the audiences, Clopton said. “He has an ear for dialogue. He’s really bold in the way he writes. He’s just a wonderful writer.”

As Mamet brings those themes to the audience, they will find themselves relating to the “universal piece,” Clopton said.

“Any of us can be seduced by our own ambition into making bad choices, or not seeing the lay of the land clearly because of the stars in our eyes, and we’re all vulnerable to that,” Clopton added.

As someone who lived and worked in Los Angeles for 10 years, he can completely relate to the storyline, said Clopton, now the owner of the Actors Studio in Newburyport’s Tannery.


What: David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow”

When: Oct. 26 through Nov. 11; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.

Where: The Actors Studio of Newburyport, 50 Water Street Mill 1, Suite 5, Newburyport

How: Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. Call 978-465-1229 or visit This play has mature content.