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True West by Sam Shepard

True West

by Sam Shepard

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215580,799 (3.58)13
  1. 00
    Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks (thelittlematchgirl)
    thelittlematchgirl: both plays are high drama works about brothers, the main difference between them is one set of brothers are black and the other set are white

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Brother vs. Brother
Review of the Audible Studios (2019) recording of the Vaudeville Theatre 2018/19 revival of Sam Shepard's "True West" (1980)

The Vaudeville Theatre, West End, London UK revival of "True West" with actors Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn ran from November 23, 2018 to February 23, 2019. This Audible Studios recording is without audience ambience so it would have been either a closed set or studio recording.

There was likely more comedic play in the actual staging which is lost in this straight recording which comes off mostly as a lot of shouting between the two leads. As part of Shepard's "Family / End of the American Dream" trilogy with "Curse of the Starving Class" (1976) and "Buried Child" (1979) it is likely one of his best known stage works, but a cold recording doesn't do much for me. The brothers squabble verbally over who gets to write / take credit for a movie script while their mother's house falls into squalor around them. Then it turns physical in the end. That's it.

This audiobook edition was one of Audible Studios free originals for members in April 2019.

See photo at https://cdn.thestage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/04130954/True-West-Kit-Har...
Kit Harington (Austin) and Johnny Flynn (Lee) in Sam Shepard's "True West". Photo: Marc Brenner. ( )
  alanteder | Apr 10, 2019 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
A well-crafted work. The juxtaposition of the characters was intriguing as the brothers eventually became each other and then merged into one entity, as it were (retaining only the worst characteristics of each). The humor was black and very effective in moving along the story. Unlikable characters, but at least they seemed rooted in reality. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 23, 2014 |
I like it. I like when the canny, streetwise older brother talks his way into the big score, confronts us with our smallness and his potency in that cliche way, and then fails hard because what the fuck does he know about scriptwriting. I like the way the successful yet emasculated younger brother gets his own back, and then turns out to have much weirder desires in him than we'd ever suspect. I like how neither of them ever win. I don't know that I totally liked the unfinishedness--not in a catharsis sense, but it felt like a sketch and needed a last scene where they chase each other through the desert. As it is, there's a tonne of pressure on the actor playing the mom to make the ending mean something--like, we've seen Lee and Austin do their thing already, so any emotional revelations have to come from her. But yeah, this is tight. ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Feb 16, 2010 |
Another little play I read for class. I liked this, but the whole time I was getting a really creepy vibe of Miller's Loman brothers in Death of a Salesman. I got this weird feeling that Lee and Austin were like Happy and Biff if they had been psychotically reincarnated in modern Hollywood. That side, it was an interesting little piece, and I wouldn't mind giving it a go in production. ( )
  cinesnail88 | Dec 16, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0573617287, Paperback)

Comedy / 3m, 1f / Int. Recently revived at New York's Circle in the Square, where Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternated playing the roles of the brothers, this American classic explores alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California landscape. Sons of a desert dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee's trashy Western tale. "Shepard's masterwork.... It tells us a truth, as glimpsed by a 37 year old genius." - New York Post "It's clear, funny, naturalistic. It's also opaque, terrifying, surrealistic. If that sounds contradictory, you're on to one aspect of Shepard's winning genius; the ability to make you think you're watching one thing while at the same time he's presenting another." - San Francisco Chronicle

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A powerful, yet funny confrontation between two brothers set in the contemporary West.

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