This So-Called Disaster: Sam Shepard Directs the Late Henry Moss
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This So-Called Disaster: Sam Shepard Directs the Late Henry Moss
In 2000, director Michael Almereyda brought his film crew to San Francisco to document the rehearsal process for the Magic Theater's production of Sam Shepard's play +The Late Henry Moss, as directed by the playwright himself. The resulting film, This So-Called Disaster, is partly a study of the magic of theater, as well as a study of the fascinating Shepard, who is nearly universally considered one of the most influential American dramatists of the past century. Shepard and Almereyda's first collaboration came via the former's adaptation of Hamlet, in which Shepard played the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"One of the finer peeks into the creative process of staging a play."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Ultimately, you leave This So-Called Disaster with renewed respect for Shepard, who comes off as a kind of quiet hero: a man of words, confronting his past with little fuss, and from it creating a legacy."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Will appeal mostly to those who love theater and relish the opportunity to see a production being built, scene by scene."
‑ Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star
"Lets us hang out with, and really meet for the first time, artists we thought we already knew."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"An engaging behind-the-scenes look at playful creativity."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"In its vision of the push-and-pull of rehearsal and the revelation of how a play comes to breathing, snorting life onstage, Almereyda's video brings us close to the act of creation."
‑ Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times
"Theater lovers are likely to find the film interesting even when it zigs and zags."
‑ Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"Consistently engrossing, with nary a dull moment, and very enlightening on what is popularly called "the actor's process.""
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"As a portrait of a collaborative artist at work, the film is an invaluable document, not to be missed by anyone with more than a passing interest in theater."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"One imagines that Almereyda thought he could simply act as a fly on the wall ... and have a compelling document on the creation of live theater."
‑ Chris Barsanti,
"In the end, what takes shape is not just a significant unraveling of Shepard's taciturn mystique, but a potent sense of the pain and rigor of revealing oneself through art."
‑ Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly
"It's fun to see actors doing what they do and to see them through the eyes of a director."
‑ David Edelstein, Slate
"A fractured but compelling piece of reality theater."
‑ , E! Online
"One of the most pleasurable documentaries in recent memory."
‑ Jurgen Fauth,
"Almereyda's movie is riveting for several reasons: its inside look at Shepard in action, its vivid account of how a challenging play is brought from printed page to public stage, and its glimpses of Shepard's troubled youth."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor