When Fox comes up with a brilliant idea for a movie, he and Gould think they’ve made it. For one blissful day the world seems about to open its arms to embrace them. Gould assures that he will bring the movie forward to the board for production, and Fox goes away happy. But when a side-bet between Fox and Gould about Gould's attractive assistant Karen ends with Gould being evangelised to an alternative vision of the world, Gould is brought to the precipice of throwing his – and Fox’s – opportunity aside.
The play was very well received when it was first presented; the New York Post wrote that it was ‘crammed with wonderful, dazzling, brilliant lines like a plum pudding with fruit, like a gagbook full of jokes. A harvest of riches. Mamet here is so damned entertaining – I laughed and laughed.’ while Newsweek called it ‘a brilliant black comedy, a dazzling dissection of Hollywood cupidity and another tone poem from our foremost master of the language of moral epilepsy.’
Speed-the-Plow was first presented in a New York Broadway production by Lincoln Center Theater at the Royale Theater, opening on May 3, 1988, in a production directed by Gregory Mosher.