On January 24, Tony and Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano bowed as brother versus brother in the Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s True West at Roundabout Theatre Company.
Hawke, a friend of the late playwright who has acted in and directed multiple Shepard works, calls True West the “perfect play.” He plays elder brother Lee, a grifter who disrupts the younger Austin’s stay at their mother’s house while she is away in Alaska. Playbill spoke to Hawke and Dano, as well as director James Macdonald and co-stars Marylouise Burke and Gary Wilmes, about bowing in the new production. (Watch the full video below.)
“It's kind of like building Legos,” Hawke told Playbill of crafting his performance. “You just keep adding on. You don't think about the beginnings, you're just constantly thinking about how you can better do this.”
Hawke is a longtime Shepard aficionado. (His PBS viewing of True West as a youngster sparked his aspirations for a career in the arts.) He starred in a 1995 Steppenwolf production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child and directed an Off-Broadway production of A Lie of the Mind. “I knew [True West] was a comedy because I've done a bunch of Shepard, but there's other things I've learned about how well made this play is.” Having tackled True West, what Shepard work would Hawke take on next? “I wish that Paul and I could do—there's kind of a brother's trilogy—so if we could do Lie of the Mind and The Late Henry Moss in rep that would be really fun.”
True West plays Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre in a limited engagement run with a closing scheduled for March 17.