Portland Stage presents a story of honor, greed, betrayal and ineptitude.
Don, Teach and Bobby are out to steal the big haul. They plot and they philosophize. They plan carefully and cautiously. Their prize? A buffalo nickel.

In “American Buffalo,” a play being presented by Portland Stage Company through April 18, David Mamet, one of the most powerful and original voices in contemporary American theater, uses biting dialogue and wit to drive straight at the heart of greed and the nature of loyalty and betrayal.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at 4 and at 8 p.m. Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays.

Set in a junkshop, an environment of castoffs and throwaways, Mamet’s comically inept characters fancy themselves entrepreneurs and devise their own petty-theft-style grab at the American dream.

Mamet’s career has included teaching at numerous universities and briefly serving as artistic director of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

He grew up on the north side of Chicago and did his undergraduate work at Goddard College in Vermont. Mamet’s first major successes came in 1976 when three of his plays: “The Duck Variations,” “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” and “American Buffalo,” all appeared off-Broadway.

In 1981, his first screenplay, “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” was produced. By 1987, he was adding film directing to his resume with the movie “House of Games,” which he wrote.

Mamet is one of the few American dramatists to work simultaneously in both theater and film. His works for the stage include “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Speed-the-Plow” and “Oleanna” while his well-known screenplays include “The Untouchables,” “Wag the Dog,” “The Spanish Prisoner” and “State and Main.”

His awards include the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for “Glengarry Glen Ross.” “American Buffalo” won him the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.

Mamet lives in Vermont and continues to write and direct.

His latest screenplays, “Spartan” and “Whistle” are due out in theaters in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Tickets are $27 for Wednesdays and Thursdays, $22 for seniors and students; $29/$24 Fridays and Saturdays; and $32/$27 for Saturday and Sunday matinees.

Portland Stage Company is in the Portland Performing Arts Center, 25A Forest Ave. People can call the box office at 774-0465 for reservations.

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