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.
This book explores the development of contemporary theatre in the United States in its historical, political and theoretical dimensions. It focuses on representative plays and performance texts that experiment with form and content, discussing influential playwrights and performance artists such as Tennessee Williams, Adrienne Kennedy, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Charles Ludlum, Anna Deavere Smith, Karen Finley and Will Power, alongside avant-garde theatre groups. Saddik traces the development of contemporary drama since 1945, and discusses the cross-cultural impact of postwar British and European innovations on American theatre from the 1950s to the present day in order to examine the performance of American identity. She argues that contemporary American theatre is primarily a postmodern drama of inclusion and diversity that destabilizes the notion of fixed identity and questions the nature of reality.
Contemporary Critical Essays on the Plays of Sam Shepard
Author: Leonard Wilcox
Category: Literary Criticism
Rereading Shepard draws together 13 original theoretical perspectives on one of America's most important contemporary playwrights. Representing a range of critical appraoches - including semiotics, deconstruction, and feminism - the essays address recent debates emerging in Shepard criticism. These include the status of Shepard's texts within the modernist tradition on the one hand and a developing post-modernism on the other, and the feminist debate over Shepard's drama - does it reinforce a masculinist world or does it provide some oppositional stance toward patriarchal 'master narratives'?
The men in plays such as Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman or Sam Shephard's True West are often presented as universal; little attention is given to the gender dynamics involved in the characters. This work looks at how contemporary playwrights, including Miller, Shepard, Eugene O'Neill, David Mamet, and August Wilson, stage masculinity in their works. It becomes apparent that male playwrights return often to the issues of troubled manhood, usually masked in other issues such as war, business or family. The plays indicate both the attractiveness of the model of traditional masculinity and the illusive nature of this image, which all too often fractures and fails the characters who pursue it. O'Neill's play The Hairy Ape and the character Yank receive much attention.
Sam Shepard, the noted contemporary playwright and movie star, creates his own version of the American myth in a super-realistic, avant-garde world of cowboys, gangsters, artists and rock stars. Thirteen of Shepard's plays have appeared in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. To understand Shepard's reception, Carol Benet probes many neglected areas concerning the German language productions. She examines the roles of the translator, talent scout, agent, publisher, theater staff, critic, local government and even the program book in the reception of a foreign playwright. The answers elucidate a more fundamental question: How is the canon of dramatic literature established?
The Theatre of Caryl Churchill documents and analyses the major plays and productions of one of Britain's greatest and most innovative playwrights. Drawing on hundreds of never-before-seen archival sources from the US and the UK, it provides an essential guide to Churchill's groundbreaking work for students and theatregoers. Each chapter illuminates connections across plays and explores major scripts alongside unpublished and unfinished projects. Each considers the rehearsal room, the stage, and the printed text. Each demonstrates how Churchill has pushed the boundaries of dramatic aesthetics while posing urgent political and theoretical questions. But since each maps Churchill's work in a different way, each deploys a different reading practice - for many approaches are necessary to characterise such a restlessly imaginative and prolific career. Through its five interlocking parts, The Theatre of Caryl Churchill tells a story about the playwright, her work, and its place in contemporary drama.