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Heartless    by Sam Shepard order for
by Sam Shepard
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Sam Shepard has a very distinct style, making him one of the foremost playwrights of the last 40 years. One of the reasons he has lasted so long is he is adaptable to the times, as evidenced in his newest work, Heartless.

When Sally, a young wannabe filmmaker, invites Roscoe, an older literature professor, to stay with her after his messy divorce, he agrees, little knowing what secrets Sally's house holds. Sally and her sister Lucy live with their invalid mother and her mute nurse in a house once owned by James Dean. And of course this being a Sam Shepard play after all this is one dysfunctional family. Roscoe thought he was leaving his own broken family behind, but Sally's is more than he bargained for, and not in a positive, happy way.

Shepard has never shied away from airing his characters' dirty laundry for all to see, and this is what connects Heartless to his early works. However, as society becomes more and more immune to this sort of shock value on stage, he has added twists to his plays, and Heartless's second act contains enough odd and sometimes freaky in all senses of the word stuff to show that yes, this is a work of the 21st century. Heartless also contains some wonderfully written characters, especially female ones, whom actors will be itching to play.

Fans of Sam Shepard will hear the playwright's voice loud and clear in his latest work. Heartless shows that Shepard is still going strong with no signs of stopping.

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