Sam Shepard: Seven Plays (Anglais) Broché – 1 mai 1984
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Présentation de l'éditeur
"One of the most original, prolific and gifted dramatists at work today."—The New Yorker
"The greatest American playwright of his generation...the most inventive in language and revolutionary in craft, [he] is the writer whose work most accurately maps the interior and exterior landscapes of his society."—New York Magazine
"If plays were put in time capsules, future generations would get a sharp-toothed profile of life in the U.S. in the past decade and a half from the works of Sam Shepard."—Time
"Sam Shepard is the most exciting presence in the movie world and one of the most gifted writers ever to work on the American stage."—Marsha Norman, Pulitzer prizewinning author of ‘Night, Mother.
"One of our best and most challenging playwrights...his plays are a form of exorcism: magical, sometimes surreal rituals that grapple with the demonic forces in the American landscape."—Newsweek
"His plays are stunning in thier originality, defiant and inscrutable."—Esquire
"Sam Shepard is phenomenal..the best practicing American playwright."—The New Republic
Biographie de l'auteur
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Il s'agit de pièces de théâtre qui ont été écrites et jouées dans les années 70. Elle sont bien écrites, remarquablement construites et tous les détails de mise en scène sont soigneusement précisés par l'auteur. Mais que les thèmes sont sombres.. Pas une once de bonheur dans ces histoires qui tournent autour de la vie américaine et des difficultés, voire des horreurs de la vie de famille.
- true west: deux frères se rencontrent, l'un est romancier et brillant, l'autre est un incapable, veule et profiteur. Pourtant c'est lui qui va supplanter le premier. A mon avis, c'est la meilleure pièce
- buried child: sombre histoire de querelles de famille, dans une ambiance macabre autour d'un enfant mort: c'est la pièce la plus noire, et pourtant la plus célèbre apparemment
- curse of the starving class: où un couple se déchire au milieu de ses enfants
- the tooth of crime: la gloire passée d'une star du rock: pas terminée car c'est de l'anglais difficile ( argot des musiciens)
- la turista: là ca devient carrément du délire exotico-scatologique
Le recueil se termine par quelques pièces poétiques sous forme de monologues assez abscons.
Au total plutôt une déception, en dehors de la première pièce. L'ensemble apparait aussi un peu daté. C'est néanmoins intéressant pour une certaine vision de l'Amérique des seventies.
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Still, it makes for an excellent read and I also found it kind of inspiring, since these are really good plays that I felt flowing into my mind rather than just reading them (yes, I *know* that sounds really cheesy...)
The title of the book is: Sam Shepard: Seven Plays
It includes the full text to 7 of his plays, including:
Curse of the Starving Class
The Tooth of Crime
and True West
Fantastic collection in one book. 336 pages, has gone through repeated re-printings
Phillips Academy, Andover
The play is about the struggle between modern society and more traditional ways of life. Lee and Austin represent two disconnected brothers with drastically different upbringings who have come to accept different norms. Against the growth of the city and the suburb, their spirit of the Wild West, though diminished, still exists. They steal and fight just like cowboys and highway robbers. Yet, both Lee and Austin are scared and frustrated. Lee doesn't know if he should try to blend into the new ways, and Austin doesn't know if he should go back to the old ways. And this play about two writers writing about the West is in itself a Western story. It has all the excitement and violence of a rider's life.
Who else would steal a dozen toasters and TVs? Austin and Lee were lawless and wild, daring enough to do anything. Austin's car is like a horse, and driving out is like going for a raid. "Lee enters abruptly into kitchen carrying a stolen TV set." The sentence has such an air of ease as if Lee entered with a Shopping bag. Stealing is no more than a normal part of Lee's life. He lives off of it, like those high-way riders who plunder by-passers in the old days. The wholesale raid of the toasters shows the wilder side of Austin." It was toasters you challenged me to. Only toasters. I ignored other temptation." He says to Lee after the thievery. These words make Austin sound like a warrior who has just beaten his rival in some major battle. The only irony is that the major battle was about stealing a dozen toasters. Austin is bragging about his lawlessness, and that is a very cowboy thing to do. Not only are these brothers such "professional" thief, they also are more than violent. From Lee "ax-chops(ing) at the typewriter using a nine-iron" to Austin trying to choke his brother with a telephone cord while their mom is standing on the side. It is hard to get worse than that. It is like a misplaced scene from a Old Western movie. Not only do these pair of thief like to kill each other, they also have that independence and individualism that Western heroic images render so forcefully. On top of living on the desert by himself, Lee also says "I don't sleep." , and does not seem to eat breakfast. "Do you Eat Breakfast?" "Look, don't worry about me pal. I can take care of myself." When Austin asks him if he needs any help with money, "Lee suddenly lungs at Austin, grabs him violently by the shirt and shakes him with tremendous power." Lee wants money, but he is going to get it by himself, not through his little brother. Lawless, violent, and independent, Lee and Austin are depicted in the play as the "True Western Heroes" borne at a wrong time. This, however, is only the first layer of the play. It makes the story entertaining, but not meaningful.
"Yappin' their fool heads off. They don't yap like that on the desert. They howl. These are city coyotes here." The deeper meaning of the play is about the difference between the city "coyotes" and the country "coyotes". The country "coyote", Lee, is older, lives on a desert, use to catch snakes, and uneducated. The city "coyote", Austin, is younger, writes screen plays, does not remember having ever caught snakes, and has an Ivy League education. The brothers grew up together, but went onto totally different paths of life. But they don't merely represent two disgruntled brothers, but the struggle between the different ways of life. In Austin's eyes, the place where they used to live is "built up", but in Lee's eyes, the place has been "wiped out". But the struggle is not that simple. At the same time of feeling deep nostalgia, and refusing to adapt to the new way with help from his brother, because "it is too cold up there." , Lee also says the new houses that he saw were "like a paradise" with "Blonde people movin' in and outa' the rooms." Lee is deeply rooted in the old way of life and very unprepared socially and mentally for anything other than roaming around and stealing things. He likes comfort like anyone else, but the life of those living in those houses is like "paradise". They are far and aloft, and are not in his reach. Lee wants to write something to change his life, and Austin tells him that he can really turn things around and buy a ranch. Lee's excitement was obvious, " (laughs) A ranch? I could get a ranch?" We can see that it is very clear that even when Lee tries to change, he is only trying to change back to the old ways. Austin at the end of the play suddenly made a deal with Lee asking his brother to bring him to the desert. This shows the conflict at the other end of spectrum. Austin has more money, and has a seemingly good life. But is he really happy? Is his frustration with life any less than Lee's? No. The society that he has so well adapted to is of little comfort to him. He tries for years to get a screenplay to production, but at the whim of an executive, the deal goes to his brother. Austin is frustrated, and though he types betters, suffers as much. Lee asks Austin "maybe we're too intelligent..... One of us has even got a Ivy League Diploma. Now that means somethin' don't it?" But no, it doesn't mean as much as it seems.
The truth is, the old West as it was disappeared long ago. It is no longer filled with rugged mountains, uncharted rivers, cowboy hats, and one does not have the freedom to roam around for thousands of miles with only wild animals as his companion anymore. The untamed natural world went away a hundred years ago with the railroads, and has been changing even more ever since. It is sad to see the past go by for those who grew up as a part of it. Faced with new situations, some of these people try to adapt, some have no chance to adapt, and some don't even want to adapt. And for those who have adapted, they wonder if the decision to change in the first place was valid after all. They wonder if they should go back. That poor Lee had no chance to adapt. He was left out by progresses, and envies dearly the seemingly much more comfortable life that others have. Austin at the same time is in the mainstream of modern life, but he is just as troubled and depressed by commercialism. However, within all these confusions and fightings, all these differences and changes, there is something that has always stayed the same, and that is the true spirit of the West, the "True West". The motivation for people to go to the West in the first place is also the motivation that made the world more modernized. The struggles that the first settlers of the West faced were no different from the struggles that people now face as they move into new ways of life. That spirit is not limited to time nor place, it is about the fundamental human eagerness for new and for more, and at the same time, the unquenchable ties to the past.