and foremost Shepard´s TRUE WEST is a prescribed text for the
central Abitur 2007 (Grundkurs) in NRW not least, because the play examines
a number of relevant themes.Thus, the encounter between Austin and Lee
explores the dual nature of human existence in an ever-increasing civilized
consumer society as well as man´s primal capacity for violence.
In an interview Shepard said about True West :
"I wanted to write a play about double nature, one that wouldn´t
be symbolic or metaphorical or any of that stuff. I just wanted to give
a taste of what it feels like to be two-sided. It is a real thing, double
nature. I think we´re split in a much more devastating way than
psychology can ever reveal. It is not ... some little thing we can get
over. It´s something we´ve got to live with."
There is no doubt that double nature dominates the whole drama. Thus
the dramatist examines the dualism between art as an ideal and art as
a business. And the image of the West, too, turns out to have a double
nature, for on the one hand there is the civilized, urbanized west of
Los Angeles that is corrupted by the Hollywood movie business, and on
the other hand the rough, wild west of the desert. Indeed, both can
be found in present-day California. However, though Austin recognizes
that the West, the frontier America, is a myth and no longer exists,
he longs to go there.
Besides the burden of ancestry, i.e. the impossibility of fleeing one´s
origin, the destructive effects of family relationships and the portrayal
of feuding brothers, True West questions the truth of the American Dream
offering an alternative vision of this American myth.
In spite of all its seriousness and violence, e.g. the brothers´
taking delight in destruction and the escalation of their rivalry into
psychological warfare and physical violence, True West is a realistic
comedy, for the play is imbued with a great degree of humour and the