Sam Shepard has been “goin’ down big” in New York this year. In addition to the off-off-Broadway revival of Tooth of Crime earlier this year, Shepard’s Fool for Love opened to rave reviews this summer at the Circle Repertory Company a few streets away from where the Cherry Lane’s revival of True West has been playing all year. And two more Shepard plays are scheduled to open at La Mama in September. For a playwright who has insisted, for the last ten years, that he doesn’t want to be a playwright at all, Sam Shepard has become an oddly permanent fixture on the American theatrical scene.

An aura of mysticism surrounds Shepard’s plays. Just as they seem to find their way to New York almost against their author’s will, so their form and genesis has been attributed to some other-than-human force: “The stuff would just...


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