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States of Shock
by Sam Shepard.
To date, Sam Shepard has written more than forty plays for both stage and screen. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979. Also an actor, Shepard received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for his performance in the movie The Right Stuff. The category was in fact Best Supporting Actor - the same award that River would be nominated for five years later.
Section one of this book is the script for States of Shock: A Vaudeville Nightmare, a stage play first performed at The American Place Theatre, New York in 1991. John Malkovich was amongst the original cast of the production playing the character of the Colonel.
Shepard wrote and directed the movie Far North in 1988. It starred Jessica Lange, Patricia Arquette and was produced by Carolyn Pfeiffer who worked closely with River in 1992 on the set of another of Shepard's movies - Silent Tongue.
The script from Silent Tongue is reproduced for the third and final section of this book.
"If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage," advises a well-known theatrical adage. In the pages of this book, the author documents every word, thought and motivation to be used in his forthcoming movie Silent Tongue. Perhaps the studying of this book can be likened to reading a recipe from a large kitchen cookbook. One learns in the finest of detail, the ingredients that go to make up the finished product. Listed sequentially are the actions and methods needed, the steps to be taken to produce the final result. Yet, everyone knows it is not possible to taste the finished product by reading from the page of a cookbook. It takes a master-chef to take what is written on the page and convert it into something real, turning it into something wonderful, something of substance.
That we now live in a time of famine is brought home to anyone who reads this book. There will be no more stunning performances, no more movies to enjoy. Never again will we see a young man step in front of a camera and, in his unmatched and unique way, project emotions from the depths of his soul for his audience to feast upon.
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