Who is David Mamet, anyway?
The author of riveting dramas in which modern characters speak of deep matters in a profane, hauntingly circuitous original patois? A filmmaker increasingly enamored of action-thriller plots as in his just-released political caper, “Spartan”? Is Mamet a cranky, theatrical theorist and smug debunker of Method acting? A terse writer of fiction? A connoisseur and collector of card tricks and mind games? A devout scholar of sacred Jewish texts? (He just co-wrote “Five Cities of Refuge,” a book of reflections on the Torah, with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner.) Mamet is all this and more, if you count his latest project: an adaptation of the theatrical classic “Dr. Faustus.” It premiered to sold-out houses and head-scratching reviews at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre in February, and it plays through April 18. It opens Off-Broadway next February, in a new staging by Neil Pepe at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Mamet is surely one of the most eclectic, trend-averse thinker-artists of his generation. And