A director's approach to Sam Shepard's True West.


Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Sam Shepard’s True West is a black comedy that tells the story of Austin and Lee, two brothers leading vastly different lives who meet unexpectedly at their mother’s home in suburban Los Angeles, and through a series of increasingly surreal events, attempt to assume the identity of the other. This thesis surveys and critiques the research and practical phases of Baylor University’s May, 2015 mainstage production of this play. Chapter One examines the life and works of Sam Shepard with special attention given to True West’s critical legacy and major productions. Chapter Two analyzes Shepard’s play and applies relevant critical theory to his text. Chapters Three and Four chronicle the application of this analysis and theory to directing the play and collaborating with actors and designers. Finally, Chapter Five assesses the production’s strengths and weaknesses.



Shepard. Directing.