Home / Courses / COURSE A – 2017: America’s Second Wave. The Influence of Mamet and Shepard

COURSE A – 2017: America’s Second Wave. The Influence of Mamet and Shepard

Tutor: David Scott

Stanislavski’s influence on American theatre demanded new writing and Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller took up the challenge. Their work interrogated the American way of life, democracy, immigration and capitalism and cast questions over the direction of the American experiment. Their work on dramatic structure and complex characterization set the bar high for a new generation of writers.

Among that new generation, David Mamet and Sam Shepard emerged as two innovators of dramatic and theatrical form. Both Shepard and Mamet took up the mantle and continued to make theatre a lively force in the examination of the American way of life. Their ongoing experimentations with character creation gave rise to some of the most famous plays of the past forty years, including Shepard’s True West, Buried Child and Curse of the Starving Class and Mamet’s American Buffalo, Oleanna and Glengarry Glen Ross. Both writers also helped to create some of America’s most interesting cinema.

Shepard is regarded as an excellent actor giving some superb recent performances including roles in Mud and Blackhawk Down, and David Mamet is also famous for his incendiary non-fiction writing with books such as Theatre and True and False, Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor. With his friend William H. Macy, Mamet also established Practical Aesthetics, an acting technique reacting against much of the work of Stanislavski and Meisner.

This course will suit actors, directors and writers interested in American realism and Mamet and Shepard’s influence on it, and departures away from it. In this course, participants will spend a fun-filled week playing with the writing of Shepard and Mamet and interrogating their work and influence. Through active scene work and exercises, actors will experience the sense of the fast-paced rhythms of American realistic acting. Writers and directors will experience the nuances of Mamet’s style of direction and Shepard’s theatrical structuring.

This will be an active and thought-provoking week, suitable for all ages and levels of experience.