Donny Dubrow runs a junk shop. When he realizes that he sold a buffalo head nickel to a customer for a lot less than he could have gotten, he decides to steal it back. He also figures that as long as he's pulling the heist, he might as well go the extra mile and clean the guy out. Donny's accomplice in the robbery is his young gopher Bobby, for whom the robbery will serve as a rite of manhood. However, Donny's long-time friend and poker buddy, Teach, has other plans. He wants to cut Bobby out of the action and do the robbery himself. Loyalty is fine, says Teach, but business is business. Like the classic irresistible force, Teach assaults the immovable object of Donny's conscience. When Donny weakens, Bobby stumbles, and then, without hesitation or pity, Teach pounces. â€œWe live like the cavemenâ€, he says in a rare moment of self awareness, as he surveys the wreckage he has wrought.
David Mametâ€™s play, AMERICAN BUFFALO is another story of mens interminable struggle toward the top of the heap, a goal which ultimately and inevitably eludes most of us. Donny Dubrow, the proprietor of a dusty dark inner-city junk shop, holds court there with his friends and makes plans probably on a daily basis for his ascendancy to the top. He does this more out of habit than hope because he's long ago surrendered his future to the daily repetition of his life as guardian of the discarded remnants of others' possessions. Disheveled Teach, on the other hand, is either too dumb or too stubborn to accept the lot life has dealt him. Instead, he bucks like a wild horse under the saddle and refuses to be broken. Most pitiable of the trio is Bobby. He is the only one of the trio who still has a chance to make a life for himself somewhere beyond this tired too-familiar neighborhood.
AMERICAN BUFFALO is David Mametâ€™s extraordinary play about three lowlifes wrestling with their visions of the American Dream in a cluttered Chicago junk store.