Sam Shepard on...his past

Our Production Dramaturg William Steinberger has pulled some key quotes from Sam Shepard. We will share Mr. Shepard's thoughts about his past, his family, and himself.

Sam Shepard on his past:

“The California I knew, old rancho California, is gone. It just doesn’t exist, except maybe in little pockets. I lived on the edge of the Mojave Desert, an area that used to be farm country. There were all these fresh produce stands with avocados and date palms. You could get a dozen artichokes for a buck or something. Totally wiped out now.  – The Paris Review, Spring 1997

“These guys – my father’s generation – were coming out of World War II. I can’t help but think that these wars had something to do with the psychological state that they came back in. I mean imagine coming back into the Eisenhower fifties. It must not have been easy. At all. Where everything was wonderful, the front lawns were all being taken care of, there was a refrigerator in everybody’s house. Everybody had a Chevy, and these guys had just been bombing the shit out of Germany and Italy and the South Pacific and then they come back; I mean it just must have been unbelievable. I mean nobody ever really talks about that. Back then it was taboo to talk about it. ‘Nobody’s crazy; everybody’s in good shape.’ I mean can you believe it? And this happened across the country of course, but my dad came from an extremely rural farm community – wheat farmers – in Illinois, and next thing he knows he’s flying B-24s over the South Pacific, over Rumania, dropping bombs and killing people he couldn’t even see. And then from that into trying to raise a family and growing up in white America, you know. I mean it’s extraordinary...”  – The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard

 “World War II was a trauma that was mysterious. The women didn’t understand it, the men didn’t understand it and the medicine was booze.” The Almeida Theatre

“1943. My father is having a nightmare on one of the twin beds in the bungalow of the Motorcourt in Mountainhome, Idaho. I’m sleeping in the bottom drawer of the dresser that’s been pulled out on a throw-rug. My mother is quietly taking a shower. My father is seeing bombs raining on Italy. He sees the hand-painted cartoon faces on these bombs falling away. He sees his own White hand stretching out of the cockpit window desperately clutching, trying to catch these painted monster cartoon creatures before they smash the blank face of Italy.” –“Days of Blackouts” in the collection Cruising Paradise

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