Last week was an incredible week with Sam Shepard – you know, Sam Shepard who forever changed the way we think about American storytelling with five decades and counting of mind- and heart-bending plays, music, poetry, and prose – yes, that Sam Shepard. My staff and I welcomed Magic Theatre’s most beloved son back to the home he built here on the Bay with his premieres of Buried Child, True West, Tongues, and Fool for Love. Last Monday, Sam shared an unforgettable evening of his work with a packed house, on the same stage he made many of his seminal works some thirty years ago. As he quietly and hauntingly read Wesley’s astounding monologue from Curse of the Starving Class, I was reminded of why we are drawn again and again to the mysterious, visceral, and communal rites of theater.
This event kicked off a long time dream of mine, to host a five year Magic SHEPARDING AMERICA celebration which will re-imagine work from Shepard’s vast cannon, in tandem with developing and producing Sam’s new work with him at our side. These productions will be interwoven in our seasons with premieres from other vibrant emerging and mid-career writers who clearly have Shepard’s DNA coursing through their own work. Next season’s installment will feature a Bay Area Birthday Bash which begins in September 2013 with our revival of Buried Child and will include productions and festivities through March 2014 along side our colleagues at Word for Word, Intersection for the Arts/Campo Santo, Crowded Fire, and ACT. On November 5th, Sam’s 70th Birthday, we’re going to host a 24 hour Shepard marathon.
His big birthday was the last thing we spoke of as we said goodbye. “Maybe we can have cake,” he said with a mischievous grin, “Let’s have our cake and eat it too.” Indeed.
Producing Artistic Director