“Buried Child” by Sam Shepard. August 9
During one of my recent impersonations as an insomniac, (I’ll never give in), I found myself watching Diane Keaton in “Baby Boom” and I recorded the film for my husband Marv, although I worried that he might find it too much of a woman’s film. He loved it. Aside from Keaton’s comedic talents (which were hilarious), I was taken with the performance of this guy named Sam Shepard. I was amazed at his bull’s-eye performance. It was so natural that it was extraordinary. He didn’t seem to be acting at all. This was verified on a Youtube testimonial from Jason Alexander (of “Seinfeld” fame) who raved that Shepard was the BEST actor he ever saw. I watched “Baby Boom” again, verifying Shepard’s technique.
I found out more about Shepard. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of more than 44 plays mostly off-off-Broadway. He was a leader in the last half-century new movement of playwriting. How did I let him slip through? The aficionados knew about him, followed him, highly respected him. And then the other day Sam Shepard died. I began reading his Pulitzer Prize winner that brought him to fame on Broadway: “Buried Child”.
I wrote a review on my i-pad for Amazon and regretted every word of it. I wrote, “Who wants to read about such sick ugly characters? I would not want to know any of them personally.” Fortunately, my submittal click did not work.
Why am I glad that the review disappeared? Because in the newspaper the other morning I read a long article about the decline of Middle America. Young people feel stuck and find a an unrecognizable landscape, a fgorgotten American Dream. They reach for it and its resources, but all is unrecognizable and gone. My God, this is “Buried Child”. The disappearance, the hopelessness, the sickness that feeds on itself and turns incestuous. Shepard wrote it all in this searing play, which is considered the culmination of all of his family plays. His pen was on the pulse of Middle America. He wrote in symbolism, in metaphor, in surrealism, in realism. It’s not only Middle America— It’ll shock you.
On to something less bleak.
Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. Here is one of my favorite authors and favorite novels. It is an expose of upper class mores. Even though of a different time, this is the human condition written large.
(Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Michelle Pfeiffer). The writing is filled with wit, and the voice is elegant. Day-Lewis’scharacter is nurtured in an unfulfilling but dutiful life, and in the end, oh that end (no spoiler), read it for yourself.
· Martin Scorsese directed it when he was 34 years old. It is a complete departure for him. It was an elegant expose of the morals of the 1920’s in high New York society. Scorsese dedicated it to his father Luciano Charles Scorsese.. It was a work of love, and exquisitely detailed. Everyone was shocked that Scorsese could pull of such a tour de force.