which opened to critical and popular acclaim, is about a smalltime mystic out to bilk a bereaved woman out of her inheritance. In his review of the New Theatre Company's presentation of The Shawl
in Chicago, Richard Christiansen called the play "a beautifully crafted piece of work, with a sharp, hurting edge. . . . His Mamet's] spinning of the yarn . . . is ingenious, and his control of the sounds and rhythms of dialogue has never been more awesome. . . . An exquisitely tooled chamber drama."
In Prairie du Chien
a railroad car speeding through the Wisconsin night is the setting for a violent story of obsessive jealousy, murder, and suicide punctuated by the camaraderie of a friendly card game exploding into a moment of menace.