Sam Shepard, 1943 – 2017
Sam Shepard, whose hallucinatory plays redefined the landscape of the American West and its inhabitants, died on Thursday at his home in Kentucky. He was 73.
Sam Shepard was a titan of American theater whose darkly funny, sometimes surreal, and often frightening evocations of the fringes of American life formed the backbone of a storied career as a writer and actor. Shepard is best remembered for writing plays like the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, True West, and Fool for Love, as well as a film career that included acclaimed performances in The Right Stuff, Days of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and dozens more.
The Alley honors him as a true American original – and a voice unmatched, and hugely influential, in contemporary theatre.
Remembering Sam Shepard
The Atlantic, July 31, 2017
My Buddy: Patti Smith reflects on her friendship with Sam Shepard
The New Yorker, August 1, 2017
“In some ways, it’s like a tapestry, a painting. Shepard uses a light brush stroke in the first act, with an undercurrent like thunder. Then there’s a shift from lyric realism into a kind of pop-art absurdity. There are images like the brother who walks from California to Montana in his underwear with the American flag draped around him. At one point, Shepard veers off into another style, raucous comedy, even slapstick. There are visual images in the play that stand your hair on end – the best of them I don’t want to give away in advance. It’s a resonant play – a play that probably hits you hardest the day after you see it. We’ve been busting to get out of the rehearsal hall and put the play onstage!”
-George Anderson, Director of Alley Theatre’s 1987 production of A Lie of the Mind
Sam Shepard at the Alley
True West, 1984
Fool for Love, 1985
A Lie of the Mind, 1987
Photo: Marietta Marich, Jeff Bennett, Brandon Smith and Sarah Hill in A Lie of the Mind.