Theatre test 3

Theatre test 3 - Sam Sheppard (1943- present) Always...

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Sam Sheppard (1943- present) Always experimenting with different ways to express on stage “The weathervane of American contemporary theatre” Born in 1943 (middle of WWII) o Born in Illinois (heartland of America, farmland) o Mythology of American dream = his birthright (mother was a teacher, father was in the military) o Middle class Moved around the world 1950’s he was in California o Hollywood (saw the artificial/false aspects of the American dream in LA Left family and moved to Grenage Village, New York o Drugs (happening place of the 60s) His whole life was a set of contrasting American locations 1979- end of the Vietnam War o time of the play o “Buried Child” connection to Vietnam Key Aspect’s of the 1970’s Watergate Vietnam o Both represented a destruction of idealism It was a complicated and dark chapter of American history (assassination, Watergate, Vietnam) Sheppard reflects his sense of his society o Negative things of state of USA o Destruction of mythologies about ourselves Sheppard has never had a play produced on Broadway o “Off Broadway” = smaller theatres in NY and around the world Obie Awards- Oscars for theatre o In 1980 he earned the lifetime achievement award at the Obies He was only 37 “I didn’t want to write plays, I wanted to be a rock and roll star” o Sheppard is a playwright and actor (in movies too) and he has GREAT hair Flow for days Post Modernism Combination of traditional themes and structures with contemporary twist of disconnection and alienation o Ambiguity, disconnection, and alienation are ALL contemporary Hyper Realism This play exists in a world of realism but departs from the realm of reality Characters exhibit inexplicable moments of action
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o Characters act out feelings and we question if someone would “really” do it But cant say that nobody would actually do it “Why did you just do that?” o No answer, no one understands, not even Sheppard could tell you Influence of absurdism/chaos Acting out feelings there are no words for (IMPORTANT) Themes Decay and betrayal of American Dream/ values (god, family, country) Bitterness/ rot at the Heart of American Family Modern drift and disconnection Dreams of familial love, personal integrity, success Searching for identity, roots, connection Unnamable , inarticulate need, longing to be felt which erupts in violence Roots= continuity = future Vince is seeking out his roots and finds his fucked up family All of the sons are “crippled” o Trying to show that all children of America are maimed or crippled in some way The Children are looking for their identities Visual Exposition in the Beginning Sickness, decay, worn out, faded colors TV has no picture or sound on o Cold blue light which shows emptiness Blackout with isolated pools of light Image of someone being buried o Him covering himself in the brown blanket is an example
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course TA 2014 taught by Professor Scrinehart during the Spring '08 term at Virginia Tech.

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Theatre test 3 - Sam Sheppard (1943- present) Always...

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