Ever since Sam Shepard began his career on the Off-Off Broadway theatre scene of the mid-sixties, he managed to combine the formal experimentation and the contesting attitude expected from a celebrity brewed in the cafés of New York’s Lower East Side with a unique personal imagery that invoked popular-culture icons. However, when in the late 1970s he started to produce family dramas rooted in the US well-made play tradition, the harmonious critical response cracked. With this paper I mean to throw light onto Shepard’s extensively quoted and censured shift. I will hopefully illustrate the extent to which his family plays continue to address the same concerns as his early more experimental ones –mainly the adoption of popular myths, the persevering research on characterization in the theatre, and the exposition of the ingrained contradictions of the self– while, at the same time, they reconsider traditional notions of realism in the face of larger political changes.
Shepard, Sam; True West; Literatura norteamericana; Teatro; Mito; Mitología popular; Identidad