THE STORY: The evening begins with a bang. The deceptive calm of a family restaurant, filled with two disgruntled customers and an inept waitress, is disrupted by offstage sounds of war and destruction. The real disruption begins with the entrance
Sam Shepard is one of America's most prolific dramatists, as well as a screenplay writer, memoirist, and successful film actor. His irreverent, satirical, and nostalgic treatment of American popular culture has attracted a cult following as well as the re
Set within the netherworld of thoroughbred racing, this hair-raisingly funny new play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of True West explores the classical themes of memory, loyalty, and restitution. Simpatico launches readers into regions where high society meets the low life, and where, as one of the main characters observes, "someone is cutting someone else's throat." From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sam Shepard crashed onto the New York theatre scene during the 1960s and has since become one of the leading playwrights in the United States today, with his plays being performed and studied on both sides of the Atlantic. Shepard's plays are both intense and passionate, as he grapples boldly with what it means to be a hero, haunted by the voices and visions of myth. Cowboys, rock and film stars, gangsters, legendary adventurers, befuddled tourists, tormented lovers, and destructive families inhabit and transform themselves in his stage world where action is energised by strong emotions, mordant wit and redemptive impulses. This book focuses on the dynamic action and heightened theatricality which characterise the many plays written by this Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist. In a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of his career, Carol Rosen illuminates Shepard's plays in both a cultural and theatrical context. Rosen shows how plays such as The Tooth of Crime, Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind, as well as later works such as Simpatico and The Late Henry Moss, extend the boundaries of conventional psychological drama and demonstrate the ways in which identity is an escapable legacy, the bonds of flesh and blood potentially tragic. This essential volume also features an in-depth discussion of Man Fly, Shepard's unpublished, unproduced version of Faust, as well as a rare major interview with the playwright.
Austin, working on his Hollywood screenplay, is disturbed by the arrival of his estranged brother, Lee, just returned from three months in the desert. During a brief spell of uneasy cohabitation in their absent mother's house, Lee employs himself as a door-to-door burglar before killing his brother's film idea by pitching his own to Austin's producer. But Lee is no writer and the brothers must strike a deal, escalating sibling rivalry to fever pitch in the blazing Californian heat. Sam Shephard's True West was first performed at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco, in 1980 and has since become recognised as an American classic.
THE STORY: Henry Hackamore, reputed to be the richest man in the world, is now a bearded, aged recluse, who lives on the top floor of a Caribbean luxury hotel, attended by his bodyguard-nurse, Raul. Paranoid, desperately lonely and obsessed by a fe
Understanding Sam Shepard investigates the notoriously complex and confusing dramatic world of Sam Shepard, one of America’s most prolific, thoughtful, and challenging contemporary playwrights. During his nearly fifty-year career as a writer, actor, director, and producer, Shepard has consistently focused his work on the ever-changing American cultural landscape. James A. Crank’s comprehensive study of Shepard offers scholars and students of the dramatist a means of understanding Shephard’s frequent experimentation with language, setting, characters, and theme. Beginning with a brief biography of Shepard, Crank shows how experiences in Shepard’s life eventually resonate in his work by exploring the major themes, unique style, and history of Shepard’s productions. Focusing first on Shepard’s early plays, which showcase highly experimental, frenetic explorations of fractured worlds, Crank discusses how the techniques from these works evolve and translate into the major works in his “family trilogy”: Curse of the Starving Class, the Pulitzer Prize–winning Buried Child, and True West. Shepard often uses elements from his past—his relationship with his father, his struggle for control within the family, and the breakdown of the suburban American dream—as major starting points in his plays. Shepard is a recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, eleven Obie Awards, and a Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for Lifetime Achievement. Augmented with an extensive bibliography, Understanding Sam Shepard is an ideal point of entrance into complex and compelling dramas of this acclaimed playwright.
This illustrated volume covers the career of Sam Shepard, the provocative American playwright, scriptwriter, actor, and director, through an introductory survey followed by in-depth analyses of representative selections from the one-acts (Action, States of Shock), experimental collaborations with Joseph Chaikin (Savage/Love), and by now classic family plays (Buried Child, A Lie of the Mind). It ranges from Shepard's unpublished adaptation of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus through the textual variants and political context of Operation Sidewinder to Robert Altman's movie version of Fool for Love, besides offering brief comparisons with fellow dramatists (Albee and Beckett) and visual artists (Edward Weston, Marsden Hartley). Several performance analyses supplement the textual criticism and provide a sample of European directorial approaches. Together, these takes offer a composite picture of an artist whose output over the past forty years has turned him into a figurehead of twentieth century drama, studied and produced all over the world with a keen eye for his idiosyncratic and critical view of what it means to be American.