Sam Shepard

A Life


Author: John J. Winters

Publisher: Counterpoint Press

ISBN: 1619029847

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 448

View: 4324

"John Winters offers a master class in literary sleuthing, untangling the many lives and unearthing the origin story of America’s foremost Renaissance man of letters." —Kelly Horan, coauthor of Devotion and Defiance With more than fifty-five plays to his credit—including the 1979 Pulitzer Prize–winning Buried Child, an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, and an onscreen persona that’s been aptly summed up as “Gary Cooper in denim”—Sam Shepard’s impact on American theater and film ranks with the greatest playwrights and actors of the past half-century. Sam Shepard: A Life gets to the heart of Sam Shepard, presenting a compelling and comprehensive account of his life and work. In a new epilogue, added by the author after Shepard’s untimely death in July of 2017, John J. Winters offers a glimpse into the enigmatic author’s last days, when very few knew he was suffering from ALS. "An excellent biography . . . Mr. Winters is especially good on the backstage of one of Mr. Shepard’s most frequently revived works, True West . . . Mr. Winters has an interesting story to tell, and he recounts it ably, bringing us close to a figure who, he admits, avoids intimacy." —The Wall Street Journal "A new, thoroughly researched biography . . . Winters does indeed capture a personality more anxious and self-doubting than previous biographers have grasped." —The Washington Post "Meticulously presents the facts of Shepard’s complex life along with incisive descriptions and analyses of diverse productions of Shepard’s demanding and innovative plays . . . Winters portrays Shepard as a magnetic, enigmatic, and multitalented artist drawing on a deep well of loneliness and self-questioning, keen attunement to the zeitgeist, and penetrating insight into human nature." —Booklist (starred review)

Understanding Sam Shepard


Author: James A. Crank

Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press

ISBN: 1611171873

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 152

View: 6930

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.

The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard


Author: Matthew Roudané

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521777667

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 329

View: 5853

Few American playwrights have exerted as much influence on the contemporary stage as Sam Shepard. His plays are performed on and off Broadway and in all the major regional American theatres. They are also widely performed and studied in Europe, particularly in Britain, Germany and France, finding both a popular and scholarly audience. In this collection of seventeen original essays, American and European authors from different professional and academic backgrounds explore the various aspects of Shepard s career - his plays, poetry, music, fiction, acting, directing and film work. The volume covers the major plays, including Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, and True West, as well as other lesser known but vitally important works. A thorough chronology of Shepard s life and career, together with biographical chapters, a note from the legendary Joseph Chaikin, and an interview with the playwright, give a fascinating first-hand account of an exuberant and experimental personality.

Two Prospectors

The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark


Author: Sam Shepard,Johnny Dark

Publisher: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292761961

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 399

View: 3873

Sam Shepard is arguably America’s finest working dramatist, as well as an accomplished screenwriter, actor, and director. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize, he has written more than forty-five plays, including True West, Fool for Love, and Buried Child. Shepard has also appeared in more than fifty films, beginning with Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in The Right Stuff. Despite the publicity his work and life have attracted, however, Shepard remains a strongly private man who has said many times that he will never write a memoir. But he has written intensively about his inner life and creative work to his former father-in-law and housemate, Johnny Dark, who has been Shepard’s closest friend, surrogate brother (they’re nearly the same age), and even artistic muse for forty-five years and counting. Two Prospectors gathers nearly forty years of correspondence and transcribed conversations between Shepard and Dark. In these gripping, sometimes gut-wrenching letters, the men open themselves to each other with amazing honesty. Shepard’s letters give us the deepest look we may ever get into his personal philosophy and creative process, while in Dark’s letters we discover insights into Shepard’s character that only an intimate friend could provide. The writers also reflect on the books and authors that stimulate their thinking, their relationships with women (including Shepard’s anguished decision to leave his wife and son—Dark’s stepdaughter and grandson—for actress Jessica Lange), personal struggles, and accumulating years. Illustrated with Dark’s candid, revealing photographs of Shepard and their mutual family across many years, as well as facsimiles of numerous letters, Two Prospectors is a compelling portrait of a complex friendship that has anchored both lives for decades, a friendship also poignantly captured in Treva Wurmfeld’s film, Shepard & Dark.

The Theatre of Sam Shepard

States of Crisis


Author: Stephen J. Bottoms

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521587914

Category: Drama

Page: 301

View: 4252

This comprehensive analysis traces Sam Shepard's career from his experimental one-act plays of the 1960s to the 1994 play Simpatico. Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind are all examined in depth. Concentrating on his playwriting, this book charts Shepard's various developments and shifts of direction, and the changing contexts in which his work appeared. Engaging, informative, and insightful, The Theatre of Sam Shepard is the definitive source on the works of this innovative and original writer.

The Stage Life of Props


Author: Andrew Sofer

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 9780472068395

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 278

View: 4327

Fresh and provocative readings of familiar stage objects provide new ways of understanding theater, dramatic literature, and culture

Sam Shepard and the Aesthetics of Performance


Author: E. Creedon

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137527412

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 199

View: 8278

By concentrating on Sam Shepard's visual aesthetics, Emma Creedon argues that a consideration of Shepard's plays in the context of visual and theoretical Surrealism illuminates our understanding of his experimental approach to drama.

Sam Shepard


Author: Harold Bloom

Publisher: Infobase Publishing

ISBN: 1438116462


Page: 114

View: 485

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

Zu: Sam Shepard - "Buried Child"


Author: Alexandra Mohr

Publisher: GRIN Verlag

ISBN: 3638118010

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 18

View: 7485

Seminar paper from the year 2000 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0 (B), Humboldt-University of Berlin (American Culture Studies), course: The American Dream, 7 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Sam Shepard is known as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the United States, he also gained celebrity as an actor in a couple of American movies. He has written more than 45 plays, different screenplays, and has received 11 Obie Awards, besides a Golden Palm Award and an Oscar nomination. For the 1979 published play Buried Child he received the Pulitzer Price in the same year. This play belongs to Shepard′s trilogy of family dramas, and is probably the one which marks the change of direction in his career to a more realistic style. Critics do recognize a lot of differences compared to older plays, which are seen as surrealistic plays, or plays, which critics catogorize as parts of the Theatre of Absurd, like, for example, Fool for Love. But reading Buried Child, the reader quickly realizes that the play may have started as a realistic play, but it turns out to be totally different. Step by step, Shepard creates a sarcastic play, which also could be seen as part of the Theatre of Absurd. The play is about a farmers family living near Illinois, in the middle of nowhere. On the surface the family seems to be normal, maybe just a bit frustrated. But in the background appears to be a secret, which connects the family in a very strange way, also every single member of the family tries to keep this secret. In a brilliant way, Shepard here combines the actual with the fictional. When the audience just starts to feel comfortable with the play, the plot changes immediately and disappoints their great expectations. The following essay is divided into three main parts. The first part will give an idea of Shepard′s use of autobiographical facts, the second focuses on the father-son conflict we often find in his plays. The last part ′The Buried Child′ will be a direct interpretation of the text.