- Inner Landscapes: The Theater of Sam Shepard by Ron Mottram, and: Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer by Ellen Oumano, and: Sam Shepard by Don Shewey (review)
- Performing Arts Journal
- The MIT Press
- Volume 10, Number 1, 1986 (PAJ 28)
- p. 119
- View Citation
- Additional Information
tant to German culture then. In this respect, the book is true to its aim, gathering important documents-essays, notes, letters, interviews-from Lessing, Lenz, Hegel to Nietzsche, Lukacs, Hofmannsthal and, finally, to Horvith, Brecht, Frisch, Kroetz and MUller. The wide range of essays, and attention given to dramatic form, confirm the common view that German theatre is an integral part of German culture, indeed it is the very forum in which the German people debate their history as a people. Looking over the illustrious list of contributors to this volume, there are two modern omissions that are regrettable, not because the collection can't carry on without them, it can, but rather the presence of these authors-Marieluise Fleisser and Robert Walser-should be known to American readers. Fleisser is the undocumented force behind the new realism American audiences only know through Kroetz, and Walser the exquisite creator of anti-fairy tale plays. BGM Inner Landscapes:The Theater of Sam Shepard Ron Mottram University of Missouri Press; 172 pp.; $7.95 (paper) Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer Ellen Oumano St. Martin's Press; 174 pp.; $12.95 (cloth) Sam Shepard Don Shewey Dell; 191 pp.; $3.95 (paper) Much of Sam Shepard's aura of mystery is due to his consistent refusal to discuss his personal life with the press. But such reticence does not beget privacy, and may only whet public curiosity. Despite none of these authors having direct access to their subject, each writes extensively about the man and how his biography is reflected in his plays, differing mostly in the style they use to tell their tale. Mottram's volume betrays its former life as a dissertation, bludgeoning every ambiguity in Shepard's work until it yields a certainty, including the identity of the body dug up in Buried Child. His sources are also limited to published materials, which denies him the enlivening reminiscences on which Shewey and Oumano draw. Oumano's is of interest chiefly because she has interviewed a number of Shepard's colleagues in early theatrical ventures and in recent films, and she quotes them at length, giving some all the rope they need to hang themselves as they compete for knowing Sam first and/or best. One suspects that having a prior connection with Shepard can be parlayed into personal notoreity with a little effort. Shewey has attempted the more difficult task of creating a popular biography within which he analyzes the plays. He too has interviewed those significant others willing to talk about Shepard, but his selective quotations focus on the playwright rather than the interviewee, providing more information usually but sometimes less fun. Shewey is also,as a rule, more wary of generalization about Shepard's thoughts and relationships , which is both refreshing and honest. Sc 119 ...