Description : 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.
Description : 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.
Description : Hailed by critics during the 1980s as the decade's 'Great American Playwright', Sam Shepard continued to produce work in a wide array of media including short prose, films, plays, performances and screenplays until his death in 2017. Like Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams in their autumnal years, Shepard relentlessly pressed the potentialities and possibilities of theatre. This is the first volume to consider Shepard's later work and career in detail and ranges across his work produced since the late 1980s. Shepard's motion picture directorial debut Far North (1988) served as the beginning of a new cycle of work. He returned to the stage with the politically engaged States of Shock (1991) which resembled neither his earlier plays nor his family cycle. With both Far North and States of Shock, Shepard signaled a transition into a phase in which he would experiment in form, subject and media for the next two decades. Skelton's comprehensive study includes consideration of his work in films such as Hamlet (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) and Brothers (2009); issues of authenticity in the film and screenplay Don't Come Knocking (2005) and the play Kicking a Dead Horse (2007); of memory and trauma in Simpatico, The Late Henry Moss and When the World was Green, and of masculine and conservative narratives in States of Shock and The God of Hell. Lauded by critics in his lifetime and since his death in July 2017 as 'one of the most important and influential writers of his generation' (NY Times), Shepard 'excelled as an actor, screenwriter, playwright and director' (Guardian); this is a timely and important assessment of his work spanning the last three decades of his life.
Description : 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.
Description : Edward Albee, perhaps best known for his acclaimed and infamous 1960s drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is one of America's greatest living playwrights. Now in his seventies, he is still writing challenging, award-winning dramas. This collection of essays on Albee, which includes contributions from the leading commentators on Albee's work, brings fresh critical insights to bear by exploring the full scope of the playwright's career, from his 1959 breakthrough with The Zoo Story to his recent Broadway success, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2002). The contributors include scholars of both theatre and English literature, and the essays thus consider the plays both as literary texts and as performed drama. The collection considers a number of Albee's lesser-known and neglected works, provides a comprehensive introduction and overview, and includes an exclusive, original interview with Mr Albee, on topics spanning his whole career.
Description : A collection of specially written essays offering a guide to one of the most celebrated American dramatists working today.
Description : Wilkie Collins was one of the most popular writers of the nineteenth century. He is best known for The Woman in White, which inaugurated the sensation novel in the 1860s, and The Moonstone, one of the first detective novels; but he wrote over 20 novels, plays and short stories during a career that spanned four decades. This Companion offers a fascinating overview of Collins's writing. In a wide range of essays by leading scholars, it traces the development of his career, his position as a writer and his complex relation to contemporary cultural movements and debates. Collins's exploration of the tensions which lay beneath Victorian society is analysed through a variety of critical approaches. A chronology and guide to further reading are provided, making this book an indispensable guide for all those interested in Wilkie Collins and his work.
Description : Edward Albee (1928-2016) was a central figure in modern American theatre, and his bold and often experimental theatrical style won him wide acclaim. This book explores the issues, public and private, that so influenced Albee's vision over five decades, from his first great success, The Zoo Story (1959), to his last play, Me, Myself, & I (2008). Matthew Roudan covers all of Albee's original works in this comprehensive, clearly structured, and up-to-date study of the playwright's life and career: in Part I, the volume explores Albee's background and the historical contexts of his work; Part II concentrates on twenty-four of his plays, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962); and Part III investigates his critical reception. Surveying Albee's relationship with Broadway, and including interviews conducted with Albee himself, this book will be of great importance for theatregoers and students seeking an accessible yet incisive introduction to this extraordinary American playwright.
Description : Seminar paper from the year 2010 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Tubingen (Englisches Seminar), course: PS II Literary Studies: Family Scenes: The American Family on Stage, language: English, abstract: “This study holds that the coherence of the [American] nation owes much to the potency of its communal ‘stories’, those myths given prominence in cultural consciousness.” (Wade 3). According to Wade, the American culture is based on certain myths, on complex systems of attitudes, beliefs, and values that are characteristic for a specific society or group (cf. Collins Dictionary 1077). The history of the nation and the experience of westward expansion resulted in certain myths that are still present in the American imagination (cf. Companion Drama 286). U.S. playwright Sam Shepard is known for his interest in national myths, which he defines as mysteries that speak to the emotions and feelings of people, and in the prominence of such myths in modern society (cf. Graham 112). Thus, Shepard sees his plays as tools for cultural conversation by which he questions American myths (cf. Companion Drama 291). One of Shepard ́s most popular plays is the family drama Buried Child, which unfolds the dark secret of a family living in a farm house in Midwestern Illinois (cf. BC ). This term paper will focus on two myths which are dominant in Buried Child: The myth of the generic middle-class family in the U.S. and the myth of the American Midwest. How does Sam Shepard reveal these myths in his family drama, and how does he demonstrate their hollowness? The first chapter will be based on the myth of the generic American family, on its definition, its appearance in the play, and on the question how this myth is criticized. The second chapter will focus on the myth of the American Midwest in the same line.