The conflict between business and friendship is explored during the planning of a calamitous heist in the West Virginia University LAB Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s play “American Buffalo,” to be held at the Creative Arts Center April 11-13.

The play will be performed in the Vivian Davis Michael Laboratory Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 11 & 12, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. Admission is free, but seating is limited.

In “American Buffalo,” Don, the owner of a resale shop, conspires with his proteg�, Bob, to steal back a rare coin from a collector, which was sold way below its value. Don’s friend Teach soon escalates the situation when he decides that it would be best to steal the customer’s entire collection.

As the three plan the big heist and run into problems, Mamet explores the breakdown of trust and partnership as only he can: with gritty language or “Mamet speak” and a dry sense of humor.

A Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, Mamet is an icon of American theater, not only for penning his other famous works such as “Oleanna,” “Speed-the-Plow,” and “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but for his work as founder of the Atlantic Theatre Company, with actor William H. Macy, whose mission is to put story and playwrights’ intentions at the center of their creative processes.

”’American Buffalo’ is one of the powerhouse plays of the American Theater, with three fantastic roles for actors to sink their teeth into,” said Professor Jim Knipple, director of the WVU LAB Theatre program. “It’s viciously funny and filled with twists, turns, and bad choices that will leave you wondering what’s going to happen next.”

WVU LAB Theatre is student-produced and student-driven with theater students embracing limitation as the gateway to innovation. The budget for the program is kept purposely low, and in turn, gives students unlimited freedom with their creativity and imaginations.

“American Buffalo” is directed by junior BFA acting student Mark Combs, who appeared most recently in “Cabaret.” “American Buffalo” is his first full-length directing project.

“If I had to describe ‘American Buffalo’ in one sentence, it would be: An imbecile, a blockhead, and simpleton plan a caper,” Combs said. ‘American Buffalo’ is like Shakespeare with three people in a resale shop in 1970s Chicago. It is very exciting to see firsthand all the talent and hard work that is going into this show, and we’ve worked very hard to stage it in accordance with David Mamet’s very specific views on theater.”

“American Buffalo” features WVU theater students Trevor Lewis Day, Aneesa Neibauer and Joshua Clevenger. Assistant director is Kyle Walter. Cameron Williams is the stage manager and lighting design is by Savannah Yost.

“American Buffalo” contains strong language; parental guidance is advised.

For more information, visit, call 304-293-2020, or email



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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