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Sam Shepard (1943

Early plays:
mid-1960s: Off Off-Broadway
more than 25 plays between 1964-75
- spontaneous outpourings (first burst of inspiration)
- uneven, inconsistent, radical shifts of character, tone, dramatic mode (realism
expressionism, allegory)
- some personal: The Holy Ghostly (1969) son rejects and kills his father
- private symbolism, supernatural monsters, arcane subjects (urban planning,
- improvised jazz-like rhythm, visual images
- collage-like style
- need of the individual to create himself in a world which gives him no particular
identity to start with
- Cowboys (1964), Melodrama Play (1967), The Unseen Hand (1969), Action (1974)
- characters trying to experiment with identities, finding the one real to them
- attempt at self-definition
- invented identity as part of the escape (world too frightening or unpleasant) (Chicago
(1965)) boy sitting in a bath tub pretending to be at beach
- blocking out reality displaced by fantasies
- Red Cross (1966) It blew his mind.

- conviction that the supernatural exist in the real world (form of magic, mysticism,
religion or folklore) and the failure to acknowledge or respect its existence is perilous
- alienation from the spiritual is alienation from the past
- culture dissociated from its past is in great danger
The Tooth of Crime (1972)
- mixed metaphors,
Geography of a Horse Dreamer (1974)
- idealization of American past and rejection of present that does not respect it

1970s: Domestic realism
- bizarre events might take place, but the dramatic modes or reality levels do not
change or overlap without warning
- Angel City (1976), Suicide in B
(1976), Seduced (1978)
- criticism of some aspect of American culture (irresponsible use of imagination, public
tendency to project its own need, fears and fantasies in artist)
- no character development, no real plot
Curse of the Starving Class (1977)
- unfulfilled life of family members, hunger for self-definition, self-esteem
- sense of incompleteness (they run the world institutions of American capitalism)
- they want you to buy the things you do not have money for, so why not to go to debt
- American system awakening a hunger and then punishing the hungry
Buried Child (1978)
- corruption of American spirit and the hope for its salvation
- spiritual and physical decay
- household as America personified
- result of loss of connection to the past, refusal to acknowledge its own past failings
- compulsion to bury sins, rewrite history (slavery, Indians, Vietnam)
- to preserve the familys sense as pure, it does the most un-family like thing, killing a
child, and thus destroys its capacity to be a family
- spiritual rebirth (also Shepard as an artist!)
True West (1980)
Fool for Love (1983)
- two long-time lovers (half brother and sister) are in a cant-stay-together-cant-stay-
apart obsession, human passions (unescapable and uncontrollable)
A Lie of the Mind (1985)

David Mamet (
- sensitivity to the way language is used to give shape and meanings to its users lives
- characters from closed worlds (own cultures, myths, codes and jargon)
- lives marked by frustrations and feelings of impotence likely to explode in bitter
display of rage unless they are controlled or diverted through something that gives
them a reassuring sense of dignity (affectations of wisdom, honour, moral
- language sounds wise honourable or moral (form more convincing than content)
Mamet-language (artificial and stylized!)
The Duck Variations (1971) two old men exchange misinformation on various subjects,
the ability to express themselves give them a sense of value and dignity
Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974) two people destroy a potential relationship between
another couple, what sounds right becomes more real than what feels right
American Buffalo (1977) language creating identity, helps to protect one form feelings of
inadequacy and rage

Glengarry Glen Ross (1983)
- subculture of high-pressure land salesmen
- language and thought processes limit and control them
- men have calling and a code that set them apart from others
- sense of pride and comradeship YET do not hesitate to use illegal and immoral

William Saroyan Piano poor man trying out pianos (not enough money to buy one)
A Number of the Poor
- shop assistant, giving poor people food for free (Woman) or talking to them

Ann Beattie Janus

Andrea real estate agent,
BOWL luck, success, child, lover, possessive,
world of tricks!

- tricks to convince a buyer

Alice walker Everyday use

Ralph Ellison King of the Bingo Game