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 This essential volume also features an in-depth discussion of Man Fly, Shepard's unpublished, unproduced version of Faust, as well as a rare major interview with the playwright.
CAROL ROSEN is Professor of English at Stony Brook University, where she was previously Director of the Graduate Programs in Theatre Arts and Dramaturgy.