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Curse of the Starving Class

Curse of the Starving Class
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Sam Shepard
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 68
Pub. Date: 1976
ISBN-10: 0822202611
ISBN-13: 9780822202615
Cast Size: 2 female, 7 male

About the Play:

Curse of the Starving Class has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues, Male Monologues, and Female/Female Scenes.

Curse of the Starving Class is a full-length drama by Sam Shepard. On the shores of California, four members of a dysfunctional a family desperately try to hold onto their failing farm. Dad drunkenly dreams of a hermit's life in the desert while Mom longs for European sophistication. So when both hatch schemes, independent of each other, to sell the family farm out from underneath their two children, a wild battle ensues to save each person's piece of the American Dream.

Curse of the Starving Class takes us deep into the psyche of the American family. The setting is a farmhouse in the American West, inhabited by the Tate clan who have enough to eat but not enough to satisfy the other hungers that bedevil them. The father Weston is a drunk; the mother Ella a frowzy slattern; the daughter Emma precocious beyond her years; and the son Wesley a deranged idealist. As the family decides to sell the house to raise money, the mother talks of running off to Europe or Mexico; the father sobers up and tries to take control; the daughter is blown up in the family car; and the son is left brutalized and bloodied. In the end the characters become a metaphor for the underside of American life – benighted innocents pursuing a dream that remains beyond their reach.

This Obie Award-winning examination of the dislocations of contemporary American society was produced with great success in both London and New York. The first production of Curse of the Starving Class was staged at the Royal Court in London in 1977. The first American production was staged at the Public Theater during the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1978. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional theatre productions.

Cast: 2 female, 7 male

What people say:

"Shepard has fashioned a play of eloquent intensity, whirlwind farce and resonantly poignant insight." — Time Magazine

"…Shepard's most comic and most excoriating study of the indomesticity of the American household…." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

Sam Shepard (1943-2017) was an American playwright and actor. Born in Illinois and raised in Southern California, he worked as a farmhand and musician before moving to New York to begin his career as a playwright. The celebrated author – who New York Magazine called "the greatest American playwright of his generation" – wrote more than forty plays, eleven of which have won Obie Awards. His play Buried Child won the Pulitzer for drama. Two other plays True West and Fool for Love were nominated for the Pulitzers as well, and are frequently revived. As an actor he appeared in more than thirty films, including an Oscar nominated performance for his role as test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

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