Phillip Breen revives Sam Shepard's True West with actors Eugene O’Hare and Alex Ferns

The play is a powerful, iconic story of fraternal rivalry and a meditation on the nature of the creative life

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Phillip Breen revives Sam Shepard's True West with actors Eugene O’Hare and Alex Ferns

Photo: Idil Sukan

Sam Shepard is, according to director Phillip Breen, ‘arguably our greatest living playwright.’ True West is a powerful, iconic story of fraternal rivalry and a meditation on the nature of the creative life. Breen impressed the Citizens Theatre with his direction of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, which acted as an introduction to Dominic Hill’s reign as artistic director and revealed a director capable of combining vaudeville comedy and domestic tragedy.

True West has already attained the status of modern classic, and Breen believes it has become even more relevant. ‘The real themes of the play are coming into fashion right now, not least in the age of Twitter where people are authoring themselves,’ he says. ‘The gap between who one is and who one pretends or creates themselves to be: that gap is becoming a chasm.’

Based around the conflict of two brothers – one a respectable screenwriter, the other an ‘unruly, ugly, anti-social’ drifter – Shepard’s script has taut menace, with patches of bleak humour: Breen adds that his two actors Eugene O’Hare and former EastEnders villain Alex Ferns are capable of catching the funny and the undercurrents of violence to bring Shepard’s poetic tragedy to tough, vivid life.

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 29 Oct–Sat 16 Nov.

True West

Sam Shepard's classic play about sibling rivalry, the lure of Hollywood and the fragility of the American Dream. Featuring Alex Ferns and Eugene O'Hare.

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