Speech Paper

Topics: Broadway theatre, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Playwright Pages: 4 (1292 words) Published: May 21, 2013
Sam Shepard, Neil Simon, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams are all famous playwrights of the twentieth century. There are many different types of plays, all of which are written as entertainment for the public. This quote says exactly that “… persons who are apt to be fond of such entertainment…” (Seilhamer, 2). These men primarily wrote Broadway plays. Some went as far as screenplay writers, directors and actors. Most of these playwrights used their life experiences to influence their plays.

Sam Shepard was a successful playwright in the late twentieth century. Sam was born on November 5, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, Illinois (Shepard, About Sam). Sam was the oldest of three children, and led a rather nomadic life on military bases (Shepard, About Sam). His father was a former Air Force bomber during World War II, while his mother was a teacher. His childhood experience of living in a dysfunctional family had a major effect on his writings and what the themes would be. The family finally settled in Duarte, California where Sam graduated from high school (Shepard, About Sam). During high school Sam began acting and writing poetry. His first two plays were produced on a double bill – “Cowboys” and “The Rock Garden” (Shepard, About Sam). In 1967, he wrote his first full length play, “La Tourista,” which is a story on the Vietnam War. After receiving an OBIE for “Melodrama Play” and “Cowboy #2”, he received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. He tried to enter the cinema world in 1978 with the lead role in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” which raised his profile. Even though Sam tried branching out into other avenues, playwriting remained his primary passion (Shepard, About Sam). When he returned back to the theater, Sam wrote his most popular and admired plays. The “Curse of the Starving Class” debuted off-Broadway in 1978 and was followed by “Buried Child” the same year. Even though being involved in the theater for around two...
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