Lie of the Mind

ISBN-10: 0822206560
ISBN-13: 9780822206569
Edition: N/A
Authors: Sam Shepard
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Description: THE STORY: Involves two desperate families connected by the marriage of the son of one (Jake) to the daughter of the other (Beth). As the play begins Beth, brain-damaged from a savage beating that Jake has given her, is being tended by her parents,  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1986
Binding: Paperback
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.242
Language: English

THE STORY: Involves two desperate families connected by the marriage of the son of one (Jake) to the daughter of the other (Beth). As the play begins Beth, brain-damaged from a savage beating that Jake has given her, is being tended by her parents, Baylor and Meg. Jake sends his brother, Frankie, to Montana to see if she is dead or alive, but Beth's father, mistaking Frankie for a poacher, shoots him in the leg and takes him prisoner. Thereafter the tensions and enmities that motivate the two families grow increasingly disturbing and dangerous. Frankie falls in love with Beth, but her brother, Mike, is bitterly determined that she no longer have anything to do with her husband or his loathsome family. Meanwhile the distraught, hysterical Jake, back home in California, is nursed by his possessive mother, Lorraine, and his sister, Sally, to whom Lorraine is openly hostile. Having gotten Jake back from Beth, Lorraine is determined to keep him with her forever, but Jake soon recovers and sets out to regain his wife. In the end, however, his will fails, and he allows Beth to stay with Frankie; Lorraine burns down her house and departs for Ireland with Sally; and Jake, bereft and alone, seeks communication with his dead father by gently dispersing his ashes into the moonlight-hoping to find order and meaning in the present by coming to terms with the haunting spectres of the past.

Shepard, one of the best dramatists currently writing in the United States, was born on an army base in Illinois and grew up mainly on a ranch in California. His first play was produced off-off-Broadway when he was 19, and he won the first of his 8 Obie Awards when he was 23. A rock lyricist and film actor as well as a dramatist, Shepard has written more than 40 plays, winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama with Buried Child (1981) in 1978. Shepard's plays show the impact of a variety of influences, including rock music, old movies, popular myths of the Old West, and the 1960s drug culture. His early plays, produced off- and off-off-Broadway, are short, bizarre, surrealistic pieces that tend to project images rather than provide ordered reflections of reality; they are characterized by compelling monologues. These plays culminate in his early masterpiece The Tooth of Crime (1981), a cross between rock concert and classical tragedy, which pits Hoss, the reigning superstar, in a verbal shoot-out against the challenger, Crow. Shepard's later work has become more realistic and more responsive to such traditional concepts of drama as plot, character, and theme. It has also brought to the forefront his previously occasional concern for the collapse of the American dream.True West (1980) is concerned with the tension between individuals, especially fathers and sons and brothers, and their struggle to define and assert their identities.Fool for Love (1983) is a masterfully constructed, searingly intense study of love, hate, and the dying myths of the Old West. And A Lie of the Mind (1986) is a landmark play revealing the mental and physical abuse that occurs in two desperate families. Bonnie Marranca has written that, "Shepard is the quintessential American playwright. His plays are American landscapes reflecting the country's iconography, myths, entertainments, archetypes, and---in a less glowing light---the corruption of its revolutionary ideals, and the disorientation of its times."

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