2597 - The Plays of Sam Shepard: Myths and Sagas of the American Family from The Rock Garden to A Lie of the Mind
Sam Shepard (1943-2017) was the great rock star-cowboy-poet of the American stage. He began his career as one of the founding figures of the Off-Broadway avant-garde and became (in addition to a wonderful Oscar-nominated character actor) a canonical author, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and an heir to the tradition of American domestic drama launched by O'Neill, Williams, Miller, and Albee. In this course, students will read six of Shepard's plays: two early absurdist works, The Rock Garden and The Tooth of Crime, and the four naturalistic family sagas responsible for his enduring legacy, Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind. Additionally, a screening of Wim Wenders' classic film Paris, Texas (based on Shepard's Motel Chronicles) will be arranged. While biographical, theatrical, and cultural contexts will be addressed, class discussions will focus on Shepard's primary thematic concerns: trauma, family, and American identity. Lecture (plus Questions), Facilitated Discussion
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