The Rapidian

The Heritage Theatre Group to present "American Buffalo" by David Mamet

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August 1-3 and 8-10 in Spectrum Theater's black box at 8 p.m.

Showtimes and Ticket Sales

Tickets ($20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students) can be purchased in advance at or in person at the theater starting at 7 p.m. on performance dates. Performances will run August 1–3 and 8–10 with all shows starting at 8 p.m.

Mike Dodge and Chris Kotcher in rehearsal for American Buffalo.

Mike Dodge and Chris Kotcher in rehearsal for American Buffalo. /Charles Fortenbacher

Tomorrow August 1, The Heritage Theatre Group will light up the stage with practical lighting fixtures for American Buffalo. Come sit in the junk shop with Don, Teach, and Bobby as they plan a heist to steal a customer's valuable coin collection. 

"Act I is all about how one of the owners feels as though he's been really betrayed by a customer and he's been taken for a really valuable coin so he and his assistant are planning on robbing the man. A really sort of explosive part of their community comes into the shop and inserts himself into the robbery” says director Jared DeBacker. “Act II is them getting together to never accomplish it.”

American Buffalo was first seen in 1975 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. After two very successful showcase productions it opened on Broadway in February 1977. Followed by a film adaptation in 1996. Starring in this Heritage Theatre production are: Michael Dodge (Don), Steven J. Anderson (Teach), and Chris Kotcher (Bobby) with direction by Jared DeBacker.

DeBacker is beyond excited to be directing this Tony Award willing play. DeBacker graduated with a Theatre degree from Hope College in 2005 then moved to New York for an internship at the NY Arts Program, followed by an international tour to New Jersey, another move to Chicago, and this past September DeBacker moved back to Holland with his wife.

Although this is an R-rated play, “Mamet's use of language is remarkable for its rhythm” says lead actor Michael Dodge, “so you hear a lot of words that one does not use in polite society, but the way Mamet uses them... they become part of the characters.”

"I think one of the things the show is about is that even with a bleak outlook on humanity and day to day life, that there are certain things in one's life that you can hang on to” continued Dodge, “and they get battered, and they get betrayed, and they get crumpled up sometimes... but they're what we have. And if people walk out of this theater after we've performed with a little sense of that, I for one will be very happy.”

"We all go through our lives doing the best that we can, dealing with the cards that we're dealt and a lot of times what gets us through are the other people that we have,” says actor Chris Kotcher. “To me that's a big part of what theatre’s all about and I think that David Mamet does a real good job of bringing you close to some people you wouldn't otherwise give a chance to and in a way that is really fun.”

This premiere at GRCC's Spectrum Theater (160 Fountain St. NE) of Mamet's play is not your typical black box production. The audience is encouraged to sit in and around the junk shop with the characters, creating a theatre in the round feel.

“There's something about that proximity that, for me, makes performance very important. And we're also in a super tiny theater and I didn't want to pretend I was in a big place when I wasn't in a big place. My hope is for the audience to be very immersed in this production” says DeBacker.

Learn more about Heritage Theatre Group on their website.

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