Monday, February 26, 2007

The God of Hell - Sam Shepard

So, I just got back to the Harold Washington Library this past weekend. HWLibrary is one of my most favorite places in the world. Not because I enjoy the close proximity to our city's homeless. It is because it is one of the largest most comprehensive and accessible public libraries, I've ever been to. It's like shopping for books without having to spend any money. So, I got a book (one of many)that I've been dying to read for a awhile but couldn't get my hands on when a resident of Atlanta (Cobb County Library system, I'm frowning at you!) Sam Shepard's latest The God of Hell,a strange hybrid of early surrealistic pulp-pop inspired one acts and the Midwest environments of his Buried Child period.

A simple idea executed in a simple, direct manner. I'd love to see a production of it. But, I don't know that I would spend time creating a production of it.

I guess the question is "Is this play a success or is it a disappointment because it is a play written by Sam Shepard?" or "If this were written by some late 20's early 30something from Yale Rep or Humana Festival...would it get the same sort of play that it got a couple of years ago when it first came out?"

I think some of Shepard's latter works have incredible strength. I like this play. But I have to emphasize that I only like it. Whereas, I love "Late Henry Moss" or I am haunted by "Eyes for Conseula"...The God of Hell just sort of entertains me. But it feels like something smaller in scope, even in it's ambition than the other works he has written in the past 10-15 years.

Not to say there are not moments I think are inspired. I love the ringing of the bell at the end of the play. That is haunting for me. The American Mother/Wife Archetype...calling in the men folk to defend the land and the way of life from a governmental invasion. The simplicity of this image is palpable to me.

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