(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In this play, the question of the worth of a commodity is made the center of the conflict. Far from being useless, worthless property, as in Glengarry Glen Ross, here the “product” is a film script more or less guaranteed to make money versus a very questionable project that has no real value but is valuable to the spirit of the men involved.

Bobby Gould, a newly promoted production executive, is visited by an old “friend and associate,” Charlie Fox. Gould has “a new deal” with the money man, Ross (offstage). In a power position, Gould is constantly “promoted” by other producers who want him to approve their film deals. He is wary of being “promoted,” but Fox, an old friend and business associate, brings him a perfect project—a name actor has agreed to “cross the street.” Fox does not “go through channels”—a metaphor for the disguises, the safeguards between people and their emotions—not because he trusts his friendship with Gould, but because he is sure that his film opportunity will appeal to Gould on a business level.

Money versus people is the theme, as Gould and Fox themselves agree: When the “deal” starts to slip away, what are the real values? The question of loyalty and friendship versus the world of business, as in Glengarry Glen Ross and American Buffalo, comes up again. “It’s only words unless they’re true,” says Fox. Another property, by an Eastern philosopher, has taken the fancy of Karen, a temporary secretary, who visits Gould and sleeps with him in exchange for consideration of the new project.

The audience must consider whether Gould...

(The entire section is 677 words.)


(Drama for Students)

Scene 1
Speed-the-Plow opens in Bobby Gould’s new office in the morning. Gould, the newly promoted head of...

(The entire section is 1245 words.)