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Tooth of Crime (Second Dance)

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  113 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
One of the plays that first announced Sam Shepard as an original voice in American theater, Tooth of Crime is his thrillingly innovative rock drama, published here in a revised edition that is as fresh and provocative as the original was more than thirty years ago.

An aging rock star in a world in which entertainment and street warfare go hand in hand, Hoss must defend hims
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1972)
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Mar 12, 2009 rated it liked it
A difficult, demanding read filled with invented slang that makes the text of A Clockwork Orange look almost like homely chatter. The subtext of this experimental play just might be a Freudian commentary on the modern ego, a fable clothed in the trappings of celebrity and gangster machismo. I’d have to see a good production of the play to decide whether it’s genius or just a high-concept muddle.

[Note: this Shepard play is the basis for T. Bone Burnett's 2008 album of the same name.]
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just reread this. It's a weird, wild play, not to everyone's taste, but I kind of love it. Two gangster-like rock stars, Hoss and Crow, battle for chart supremacy ("a gold record") in an elaborate, futuristic game. They engage in psychological warfare through what seems like a stream of consciousness version of "the dozens." The play is part tragedy, part post-apocalyptic, sci-fi western. Shepard invented an argot for the characters to speak that reminds me of A Clockwork Orange.

T Bone Burnett
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
When Sam Shepard -- one of my favorite playwrights, mind you -- revised "The Tooth of Crime" as "Tooth of Crime" in 1996, he dropped a lot more than "The" from its title. Character names became less flashy (Chaser f.k.a. Cheyenne, Ruido Ran f.k.a. DJ Galactic Jack); the language, less rooted in rock; and the one female character, Becky, grew smaller in size and importance. Clearly, he was trying to make it all seem less zany and datedly futuristic but unfortunately he overlooked that those were ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-plays
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
Jen Klug
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read both the original and the updated version, and I didn't like either. Of the plays I've read so far for this contemporary drama class, this is by far my least favorite. The updated one version was as corny and dated and ridiculous as the original. Seriously painful to read. I wish I could give it zero stars. I was embarrassed for everyone involved when I read it. Now I need to quickly read something else before I go to sleep, to cleanse my mental palate.

Even the other plays I haven't love
It's harder, I think, to be reading this now having never experienced the time period. It feels outdated and gimmicky to me, but my understanding is that at the time that was less cringe-worthy, and rather brilliant.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: bleh, for-class
ehh, kind of reminded me of a ridiculous clockwork orange. couldn't really take it seriously, though this version is apparently more toned down, missing the scene with the random mooning cheerleaders. i do wonder how the songs would be done live.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Not my favorite - actually closer to 2 and a half stars than three... Don't ask.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Even the 1996 revision, I found to still be pretty dated. It would be interesting to see hip-hop presented as the battle of musical style.
Michelle Lynne
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
This was probably the weirdest musical I've ever read - I'd be interested to see a live production of it.
Dave Clapper
Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Awfully dated now, but still a very cool play. I was fortunate enough to play Crow eons ago.
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Sam Shepard was 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 was an actor of the stage and motion pictures; a director of stage and film; author of several books of short stories, essays, a ...more
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