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Simpatico Paperback – April 30, 1996

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The script of Shepard's three-act drama about a desperate man trying to hold onto his wife and career is set against a backdrop of professional horse racing. Pulitzer-winner Shepard structures his latest exploration of new American archetypes as a detective story.

From Library Journal

This duo offers a full-length play and a collection of 14 shorter dramatic works from various points in Shepard's career. As one of the best of the modern crop of American playwrights, Shepard belongs in all collections. With the current Broadway outing of his 1979 play Buried Child receiving multiple Tony Award nominations, interest in the playwright and actor should increase.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (April 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679763171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679763178
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,625,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Shepard was born in 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He moved to New York from California just as the off-Broadway theatre scene was emerging. He has written more than forty plays, of which elev en have won 'Obie' awards, besides collections of stories, prose writing and screenplays. His plays include Buried Child, The Late Henry Moss, Simpatico, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, and States of Shock. His screenplay for Paris, Texas won the Golden Pa lm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and he directed his own screenplay, Far North, in 1988. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Shepard received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy in 1992, and in 1994 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hamilton Hamilton on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
A recommended Shepard must-read!

From Cowboys (1964) at the Theater Genesis to Icarus's Mother (1965) at Café Cino to La Turista (1967) at La MaMa to The Tooth of Crime (1972) at Open Space, Shepard's "lost men" have stumbled across the stage in a way that has chronicled the fascinating interstice between eras and between generations. Shepard represents the desert poet, the rambling musician, the ill-fated prairie homesteader of American cultural memory, alone in a crowd and unassuaged by logic or love. Curse of the Starving Class (1977), Buried Child (1978), and True West (1980) moved him away from the perception that he was simply an avant-garde artist, an experimenter, and established his style and wide identification as a mainstream American playwright. In Fool for Love (1983) and A Lie of the Mind (1985), he joined Rabe and Mamet as portrayers of American masculinity in conflict with warring emotions and sexual violence. A Lie of the Mind, particularly, drew a line in the sand of public recognition as a dense work of loft and dimension, an imprecation and apologia of the last lone white male bellowing in the bleak boozy night.

As for Simpatico, it touches on all the Shepardian themes in its exploration of men, and women, on the edge, entering into a precarious and ever-shifting balance of power. It is, in the words of one director, "a meditation on heartache". Shepard, in his potentially pessimistic world, won't break into an emotional investigation of heartache per se, but examines the undercarriage of the heart and its wild persistent beat in an empty landscape.

When Simpatico opened at New York's Public Theatre in the fall of 1994, critics raved and razzed in equal measure. Some audiences may not want to take the journey, but there are riches to be mined here. In jolting shift from Kentucky to California, Simpatico traces a web of secrets, betrayal, love, loss, and black comic hope. Sam Shepard's American master-series continues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor A. Terenzio Jr. on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shepard has been a favorite playwright of mine since the 80s
Simpatico stands out as being a modern film noir
It is in my top 5 this season for submissions to direct at local theaters
See the film, Nolte, Bridges, Finney, Stone & Kinner
GREAT
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bryce Wisan on December 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
To me Shepard is saying that whether you are a pauper living in a hovel or a gentleman living on an estate, the cantankerous affects of life without morals will get you. All participants in the acts captured in the 'pictures' were ultimately victims.
However, describing this play exclusively as a moral treatise would be a moral outrage! This play is classic Shepard. The characters are edgy, the dialogue is light and quick, the setting desert western, and the plot is charged. Shepard's characters seemed to me to be at once unbelievable, and yet a little bit more like myself than I'd like to admit.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am not at all sure what Shepard was trying to do here - write a hit? Write a comedy/drama? Show a kinder, gentler, more entertaining side? Say something about America? Whatever it was, it does not really work. Granted I have found him to be a playwright whom it is better to experience on the stage than on the page. I thought "Buried Child" was crap when I read it, and terrific when I watched it. It could be the same with this, but I doubt it.

The play starts off like another "True West". Two men: one twisted, one together, one a loser, the other a success. But it turns out to be a different situation. Mr Success is dependent upon Mr Loser and sends him money to keep his mouth shut about something. Apparently several years ago they blackmailed a racing official with some sexual photography. Mr. Loser still nurses a grudge against Mr. Success, because Success took his wife and ran away with her after the dirty work was done. Not a bad setup, but the tone begins to vary a lot. It feels as though Shepard never figured out where he really wanted to go with this.

Other characters are thrown into the picture, such as a young woman who is a strange conglomeration of naivety and knowingness. This girl has somehow gotten involved with Loser and then begins to pal around with Winner. Loser than goes to visit his ex-wife, who is Winner's current wife, and try to win her back or something. By the end it is hard to understand, or to care much, about what is going on with these characters.

This piece lacks the fire and tension that make the best Shepard plays into something truly special (plays like "The Tooth of Crime", "Fool for Love", and "True West"); and it doesn't have the inventiveness that make some of his other pieces into such wacky fun. But I still want to see it, in case I have to take this all back someday.
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