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True West

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  3,774 ratings  ·  74 reviews
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, t ...more
Paperback, 71 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Samuel French, Inc. (first published January 1st 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Philippe Malzieu
Shepard, a true legend. Actor, author, dramaturge. He was with Patti Smith, Jessica Lange. We discovered his play at the same time we saw "Right stuff". It was a revelation. Shepard attacks with the myth of the cowboy, emblematic of the American culture. This n' is not a demolition. He gives to the cowboy an human dimension. By reading the play, I find the same emotion than when I was at the theatre.
Kamran
نمایشنامه غرب حقیقی،اثر سم شپارد از 9 پرده تشکیل شده که تمام آن ها یک طراحی به خصوص (مانند دیگر آثار شپرد معمولا یک خانه کلبه مانند با وسایل ساده) دارد،اتاقی که در یک سوی آن آشپزخانه و در سویی دیگر آلاچیقی بدون در قرار گرفته است. در هشت صحنه اول فقط دو نقش لی(برادر بزرگ) و آستین (برادر کوچک) در نما حضور دارند.در یکی از پرده ها،سول کیمر(تهیه کننده برنامه ها تلویزیونی) نیز وارد صحنه می شود.در پرده نهم،مادر وارد شده و پس از گفتگویی کوتاه با دو برادر،آن را ترک می کند.در مورد نقش ها،آستین یک فیلمنام ...more
Peter
Holy crap! This play is NOTHING but character development! Two brothers in a kitchen (and connected alcove) for 9 Scenes, talking, and somehow it's completely engrossing. While satirizing the Western genre, the play raises all kinds of questions about family, independence, rural and urban lifestyles and doesn't try to answer them conclusively, which is refreshing. This is like the anti-"Pericles." In 30-40(?) pages, I felt like I could write a 10 page paper on this play easily. After all 140 pag ...more
Russell
Notes on Sound

"The Coyote of Southern California has a distinct yapping, dog-like bark, similar to a Hyena. This yapping grows more intense and maniacal as the pack grows in numbers, which is usually the case when they lure, and kill pets from suburban yards. The sense of growing frenzy in the pack should be felt in the background, particularly in scenes 7 and 8. In any case, these Coyotes never make the long, mournful. solitary howl of the Hollywood stereotype.
The sound of Crickets can speak f
...more
Marzieh rasouli
نمایشنامه خوندن تو سفر خیلی بهم میچسبه و این رو هم تو جاده خوندم و هنوز نصف راه رفت رو هم نرفته بودیم که تموم شد. از سم شپارد قبلن داستان کوتاههای خواب خوب بهشت رو خونده بودم و حالا با خوندن این نمایشنامه بیشتر ازش خوشم اومد و راغب شدم برم سراغ چیزای دیگهای که ازش چاپ شده ...more
Cecilia
What the hell did I just read?
Christine
Most creative use of toast. Ever.
Ben Hallman
Moe: "It's 'Po-Mo!'"
[Homer, Barney, Lenny and Carl stare at him blankly.]
Moe: "Post-Modern?"
[They continue to stare blankly.]
Moe: "Yeah, all right. 'Weird for the sake of weird.'"
Homer, Barney, Lenny and Carl: "Ohh!"

So with True West, I was introduced to the concept of Postmodernism. Not that this play is the first piece of postmodern literature I've ever read, but it is the first postmodern work I've read that I knew was considered postmodern while I was reading it. Which means absolutely
...more
David Brimer
I love it when playwrights toy with convention. Sam Shepard is certainly one of them. I first read "Fool For Love" several years ago and was impressed by his voice and style. "True West" is very similar in tone, though not in execution or story. It starts like a typical brothers who don't see eye-to-eye story and ends with that convention flipped on its head. Though I believe the outcome to be highly unbelievable, it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story. I see Shepard occupying the same south ...more
Dree
I always have a hard time reviewing plays, because the volume and look and set design are so key to the understanding. I am so used to reading novels, with all the description there for the movie I make in my head.

A few things about this really stood out for me
• the good son/bad son dichotomy is apparently not as strict as we are at first led to believe
• life as a script writer is just like this, I know. Meetings, deals, etc--and then getting dumped on your ass by some one-hit wonder. A one-hit
...more
Sarah
An absolutely wonderful play- my introduction to Shepard. Led me to Beckett and Brecht, and was a perfectly "me" story. Humans are liars, and we never really get anywhere. Shepard understands my sensibilities.
Nikol
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arghavan
Sep 27, 2013 Arghavan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arghavan by: فاطمه محمّدی
بسیار بسیار بسیار خوب. سام شپارده دیگه. 8-> :ی
دیالوگهاش عــالیَن. خشم، انسانیت، اون حسی که آدم به برادرش داره، اینا رو عــالی درآورده. بعضی جاها لی واقعا نفرتانگیز و رواعصاب بهنظر مییاد و بعضی جاها خیلی برتر از آستین. بعضی جاها حق رو به آستین میدی و بعضی جاها به لی. فضای متشنج بین این دو تا رو خیلی خوب درآورده؛ این که چقدر یه آدم میتونه جنبههای مختلفی داشتهباشه رو؛ این که یه شکست چقدر میتونه آدم رو عوض کنه. هرچی نمایش جلوتر میره شخصیت برادرا بیشتر عوض میشه. آستین که اونقدر متشخص و خونسرد و مث
...more
علی
Reading what so ever written by Shepard means going through a shortened social history of America after ww II, and up till the end of 20.century. Plots are so simple and dialogues are not very much sophisticated. Maybe some of works by Shepard are not as interesting as the others, but for those whom are interested in sociology, and drama as writing-art, will enjoy reading or watching works by Shepard. Reading simple and plain plays by Shepard gives you dare to sit and write about whatsoever plot ...more
Dan Domanski
True West portrays an idea more than it tells a believable story. And it succeeds in getting this idea across: Those who put their whole lives into working hard and making money are living on just a slippery slope as those who steal and use violence.
Rebecca
I've never read any of Sam Shepard's plays although I've enjoyed his films and acting. And for full disclosure, I think I've read only 2-3 plays to date (not including Shakespeare, as - pardon my fine distinction - I consider Shakespeare's plays to be in a class by themselves). So perhaps if I READ through the Shepard films that I've enjoyed I'd feel the same sort of letdown. "Letdown"? Well, while the 2 main characters in "True West", brothers Lee and Austin produce some entertaining dialogue, ...more
Aneta
True West, as a play, wasn't a great experience for me. There were two central characters, brothers, and the plot, which I found to be really simple, was ongoing with no real essence to it. In a way, I found it to be similar to Catcher in the Rye because it reminded me of the familial bickering's that occurred in both. I felt that Catcher in the Rye captured more of an essence than did True West mainly because the characters were a lot more multi-faceted. In True West, Austin and his brother Lee ...more
Joe Zaydon
Funny, scathing, decidedly American -- Sam Shepard 'True West' only makes me want to read more of his work.
ProcrastiReader
Probably more like 3.5 stars, but decent enough to round the rating up.
yossra khardani
I love the rising of events , simply Worth reading
Robert
I thought I'd like it more than I did - it's a decent drama with one landmark scene but, aside from that, doesn't really resonate.
Hannah Attard
Although this book was a really quick read,I really enjoy reading plays for a change. The bickering between the two brothers is very bizarre. The whole situation was kind of strange. When the mother made her first entrance in the play was really stange. Everyones relationship with eachother is weird. They seem like they want to care for eachother but do it in the wrong ways. I foudn the ending strange aswell, it was like there was suppose to be another scene but nothing continued. I felt like no ...more
Steve Pearson
Favorite play ever!
Hanieh...
اتمام بدون هلیا:(
J.M. Slowik
Didn't get it, but not all that upset about not getting it. I'm sure it was fun for the original cast (Malkovich and Sinise!) to perform as brothers-at-odds and destroy the set every night, but I just didn't believe the "twist" at the end. Or their mom's reaction to it. I enjoyed the structure, the western ambience and close character development but overall it seemed intentionally weird for the sake of being weird.
Lyric
The story of the two brothers is really interesting. My issue with Sam Shepard though is that he doesn't allow much room for a designer. This play is great for small community theaters who can not afford a designer to come up with an original play design. Sam Shepard lays out a very specific blue print for costumes, set and sound design. Would love to see this envisioned without Sam's overbearing design demands. Let your imaginations run free, people!
Carmen
Sometimes I suspect that all of Sam Shepard's characters are really different aspects of his own personality. His works depict a distinctly American psyche in constant battle with itself, the open frontier, the anonymous landscape, the never-ending road, the random people along the way and the broken families they left behind. I read somewhere that he never flies because it's unnatural, humans shouldn't leave the ground or something along those lines. Interesting.
Boni
Sibling rivalry, the sins of the father, the Mojave Desert, the new west, not to mention the unending noises of the coyotes and crickets: these are the motifs that hover in Sam Shepard's True West. Clearly, one of the important works of playwright-actor Sam Shepard. Aside from reading this play, I saw the recorded version starring the then unknown Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. Fantastic acting in this wonderful American piece!
Phil
Sep 01, 2007 Phil rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
This is probably my favorite play. I first saw the old low budget movie version with John Malkovich and Gary Sinese and was very impressed--Malkovich plays the "bad" brother quite well. I also saw it on Broadway with Philip Seymour-Hoffman as the "bad" brother and John C. Reilly as the "good" brother (apparently they switched roles each night). Anyway, if you get the chance to read or watch it, do so. It has a nice twist ending.
Kaysy
Trying to read lots and lots of plays this summer. This was a GREAT start. It's famous for a reason - the way Shepard starts out with a very down to earth scenario and then slowly skews it so that by the end its insaaaane is so fun to read. I only wish he wrote better parts for women. That's the only reason why I still prefer Fool For Love over this. But, it was a great start to my play reading summer!
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Sam Shepard is an American artist who worked as an award-winning playwright, writer and actor. His many written works are known for being frank and often absurd, as well as for having an authentic sense of the style and sensibility of the gritty modern American west. He is an actor of the stage and motion pictures; a director of stage and film; author of several books of short stories, essays, and ...more
More about Sam Shepard...
Buried Child Seven Plays: Buried Child / Curse of the Starving Class / The Tooth of Crime / La Turista / Tongues / Savage Love / True West Fool for Love and Other Plays Fool for Love - Acting Edition A Lie of the Mind

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“This isn't champagne anymore. We went through the champagne a long time ago. This is serious stuff. The days of champagne are long gone.” 11 likes
“Those are the most monotonous fuckin' crickets I ever heard in my life.” 5 likes
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