(Michael Feingold’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 8/29.)
Heartless is a Sam Shepard play. I use the phrase, cautiously, to curb potential confusion. Over the last few decades, New York has seen a fair number of plays by Sam Shepard that are not what I would call Sam Shepard plays: They offer his language, his sensibility, the sort of characters and ambiance on which he has often drawn, but they offer these elements in a flat, straight-dealing fashion. Easy to consume, they leave a longtime admirer hungry for the density of his peculiar method—"peculiar" in the sense of "distinctive" as well as that of "odd" or "eccentric." Anyone wanting to mimic his manner could write what looks like a play by Sam Shepard, but nobody else could possibly write a Sam Shepard play. Heartless, I happily reiterate, is a Sam Shepard play.
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