From the Director's Notes

-Gary Grant-

The language used by Samuel Beckett and Sam Shepard combines a poetic, imagistic prose and a dynamic language of the stage (vocal and physical gestures, entrances and exits, even the theatre house itself) to powerfully communicate the extreme states of consciousness that mark the contemporary human condition. These two masters of theatrical language give voice to society's outsiders: spiritually maimed men and women reeling and disoriented at the end of WW II and the Vietnam War. At the end of their tethers, these characters search memory and perception for some meaningful moment...

As a young bohemian in New York's Lower East Side in 1965, when Shepard found his finger placed on the racing pulse of American youth, he discovered his dramatic voice. But, by the fall of 1972, to escape what he saw as the excesses of this yippie lifestyle and the conflicted idealism of the Vietnam War generation, Shepard took his wife, Olan, and their small child, Jesse Mojo, to London. Here, in several plays including Action, he looked at his homeland from the perspective of a self-imposed exile. Reminiscent of Didi and Gogo in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Shepard maroons the characters of Action in some undefined wasteland (or simply on a stage) where they survive by reading, performing daily chores and dance routines, waiting for a Christmas turkey and defining themselves in nonstop, stream of consciousness talking. In Action's juxtaposition of yearnings for community with intimations of alienation, Shepard, the American spontaneous Beat, writes his most formal and his most European-styled existential play.

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