Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark

Despite the publicity his work and life have attracted, Sam Shepard remains a strongly private man who has said many times that he will never write a memoir. However, he has written intensively about his inner life and creative work to his former father-in-law and housemate, Johnny Dark, who has been Shepard’s closest friend, surrogate brother (they’re nearly the same age), and even artistic muse for forty-five years and counting. Two Prospectors gathers nearly forty years of correspondence and transcribed conversations between Shepard and Dark. In these gripping, sometimes gut-wrenching letters, the men open themselves to each other with amazing honesty. Shepard’s letters give us the deepest look we may ever get into his personal philosophy and creative process, while in Dark’s letters we discover insights into Shepard’s character that only an intimate friend could provide.  Illustrated with Dark’s candid, revealing photographs of Shepard and their mutual family across many years, as well as facsimiles of numerous letters, Two Prospectors is a compelling portrait of a complex friendship that has anchored both lives for decades, a friendship also poignantly captured in Treva Wurmfeld’s film, Shepard & Dark.

We are pleased to announce our facilitator for the final Book Club of the year, Professor Stephen Weeks. Professor Weeks is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Lewis & Clark College where he teaches both American and British drama, as well as a full slate of performance courses in acting, directing, and playwriting.  He has also taught at Brown University and the School of Drama at the University of Washington, has been a dramaturg and literary manager in Los Angeles, and is on the Artistic Council at CoHo Theatre.  Professor Weeks received his Ph.D in Drama at Stanford University where he studied under Martin Esslin, the dramaturg at the Magic Theatre while Sam Shepard was the resident playwright.  Professor Weeks also spent some time working at the Magic Theatre in the time shortly after Sam Shepard’s departure.