MARCH 2018 NEWS
March 29, 2018
"Fools for Love: a Dramatic and Musical Tribute to Sam
Shepard" will take place at 8 p.m. on April 7 at The Rock House in
Glenview, Illinois. It is also a fundraiser for the Les Turner ALS
Foundation, the disease that claimed Sam's life. The show is in three
parts beginning with reading an excerpt from one of his final works. A musical
performance will follow with songs that Sam's sister, Sandy Rogers, wrote for
Robert Altman's film version of "Fool for Love." Following the music, a
shortened, adapted version of the play "Fool For Love" will be performed.
* * * * *
"I feel like I've never had a home, you know? I feel
related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where
I fit in... There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where
you can reckon with yourself."
March 23, 2018
William Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" may be the epitome
of the story of star-crossed lovers, but Sam Shepard certainly gave the bard a
run for his money with his 1983 play "Fool for
Love." In honor of his memory, Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival
will be putting on a production of his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play. While the
company’s mission is to faithfully portray Shakespeare’s works, it also includes
"other actor-driven plays."
"It still seems natural to do an American classic as our first departure and
especially Sam Shepard because so much of his writing is based in the
Southwest," said Dawn Tucker, executive director of FlagShakes. She continues,
"I read that when he wrote the first scene he just loved the characters so much
that he didn't want it to end, he just wanted it to go on and on."
Performances of "Fool for Love" will be the last two weekends
of March. The Momentum Aerial Arts Studio will host the production Friday and
Saturday, March 23 and 24, before it moves to La Posada Hotel in Winslow the
following weekend, March 30 and 31.
March 20, 2018
Roundabout Theatre Company has announced that Ethan Hawke and
Paul Dano are teaming up for a new Broadway production of "True
West". The play will be directed by James Macdonald with previews
beginning on December 27 ahead of an official opening on January 24, 2019 at the
American Airline Theatre in New York. Additional cast and creative team members
will be announced at a later date. Hawke was a longtime collaborator and friend
of Sam's and gave the following tribute last summer:
For my generation, there’s a bit of hero worship that
went along with Sam. He was someone who could act and direct and write at
such a high level. He’s a poet of the first order. I first saw a production
of True West when I was 14. That production did for my generation
what Brando and Streetcar had done for a generation earlier. It was
the same time he was in The Right Stuff. Playing Chuck Yeager is one
of the coolest performances this side of Rebel Without a Cause. The
first time I met him I was 24. I was at a urinal during intermission of the
first read-through of Buried Child in Chicago. I later told
[film director] Richard Linklater, and he said, “Well, you’re pissing in the
tall grass with the big dogs now!”
What a lot of young people get wrong about Sam is that he wasn’t just cool.
When you worked with him, he was a very serious person. He’d come to
rehearsal and talk about Greek myths and weird obscure playwrights. I once
went into a bookstore and found him in the Spanish section, poring over how
to learn Spanish in six weeks or less. He was disarmingly humble and wildly
self-serious. He could walk that razor’s edge.
Here’s one of my favorite stories: I was living at the Chelsea Hotel, and I
had to wake up at dawn to walk my puppy. Outside was Sam Shepard reading all
the famous artist plaques on the wall. We’d worked together a bunch already,
and I invited him in for coffee. We were heading to the elevator, and Sam
was telling me about how he used to live there and wrote with Patti Smith
there, when we run into the owner of the Chelsea — Stanley Bard, this
old-school New Yorker. Sam said hi and then, 'What do you gotta do to get a
plaque on the wall? I did some good writing here!' And Stanley said, 'Well,
unfortunately, Mr. Shepard, you have to die.' And Sam went, 'I see Arthur
Miller’s got one out there, and he’s not dead.' And Stanley went, 'Well, Mr.
Shepard, I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you you’re no Arthur Miller.'
Sam burst out laughing so hard.
In the years I knew him, he could be many different people. He was a
complicated person. He was wise, and I think he got wise fighting a lot of
things about himself. He was a deeply curious person, always learning,
always staying interested. He was writing beautifully at the highest level
even at the end. I wish he hadn’t been sick, and I really wish we could have
worked together again. It was always an honor.
March 12, 2018
Several years ago Sam and actor Scott Glenn teamed up for a
reading of "Ages of the Moon" at the Egyptian
Theatre in Boise, Idaho. You may remember that the pair starred together in "The
Right Stuff". The play is about a couple of dudes sitting on a front porch
in the country, waiting to witness an eclipse of the moon. Ames and Byron are
old friends who, accompanied by whiskey, spend a night reminiscing, bickering
and growing hostile.
Here are several photos from the July 28, 2011 event:
* * * * *
As a tribute to Sam, the University of Tulsa will
present two of his plays at the Chapman Theatre from April 12 to April 15.
Directed by senior students, "Action" and "Fool for Love" will be staged.
March 2, 2018
In the early 90s, Carol Rosen interviewed Sam for her book, "Sam
Shepard: A Poetic Rodeo", which became part of the Modern Dramatists Series.
In this excerpt, Sam discusses directing:
When I started, with the first play I ever directed in
London, I was terrified of the situation because I'd never done it before.
So I immediately conferred with two people who I thought were the best
directors in the world. One was Peter Brook and the other was Joe [Chaikin].
I sort of talked to them at length about the process and all that kind of
stuff. When I went in, I found myself sort of trying to imitate certain
things from their points of view, but discovered that it was futile, that
you have to deal with the actors that you've got right in front of you and
find out what the experience is like: directing. You can't use a formula to
approach it, so I never developed a formula for it. I like actors who are
incredibly courageous and enthusiastic. I think Malkovich is a good example:
extremely intelligent, fearless, and enthusiastic. Just does not give a shit
about how this fits into somebody else's idea of what it should be, just
goes for ideas that are completely off the wall. They may be wrong but he'll
go for them.
At the time of Sam's death, Malkovich described him as "very
cool and authentic" with "great simplicity on screen."
* * * * *
Human Sacrifice Theatre of Melbourne, Australia, has
announced an event called "I Lost Track of Time" - A celebration of the
writings of Sam Shepard. There will be three performances between March 25 - 27.
The extracts presented in this unique entertainment include his early Off-Off
Broadway period when the plays were often performed against an aural background
of hard rock music, the award winning main stage family dramas, personal
observations and movie scripts. All accompanied by a live original music score
which pulses with the rhythms of Sam Shepard’s writing. A man who walked the
line between movie star and rebel, a punk cowboy "who never ceased to grow, to
explore, to confront, and to listen to new music."