Tonight was opening night for the local production of Sam Shepherd's, Pulitzer-Prize-Winning, play, Buried Child. This is not a play for the faint of heart or mind. It's a postmodern tragedy about the death of the American Dream that outdoes Shakespeare in some ways. If you are at all interested I suggest you read about it on Wikipedia because I'm not going to give you the plot line here. This is a drama that will tear your heart out and leave it there on the floor, while all the while you realize that it's all too true. It's disturbing on many levels.
There are only seven characters, all related except two.
Dodge is the family patriarch who is dying and avoids responsibility for anything by denying the problems.
The oldest son is Tilden. He has come home after time in New Mexico, and is now damaged goods.
Dodge's wife, Hallie, bullies everyone, but clearly is somewhat lost in her own reality as well. She mostly talks about their son Ansel, who was killed. She has turned him into a hero in her memory.
While Dodge and Tilden are home alone, Tilden's son, Vince, and his girlfriend, stop by unexpectedly. Vince hasn't been there for six years and no one seems to remember him. Vince doesn't understand why no one recognizes him. Here, he tries to convince his father who he is.
Meanwhile, the other brother, Bradley (who only has one leg as a result of a chain saw accident) has come to the house and assaults Vince's girlfriend, Shelly.
Hallie and Father Dewis are involved in more ways than just creating a memorial for Ansel. This is no secret, and yet the family has a huge secret they don't want to talk about.
Vince goes to the store to buy whiskey but doesn't return until the next day. He is drunk and not making any more sense than the rest of the family.
As I said, I'm not going to tell you the story line. I'd rather just let you have a sense of the drama from the pictures.
The set for this production was absolutely fantastic. I love sets that create different spaces for action that let the audience see more than one "stage" without a set change.
Several members of the cast were outstanding, and that's saying something because this is an extremely difficult play. It's so dark that one has to let that spill over into humor from time to time or it becomes rather unbearable.
I'm really glad to have been able to see this, but it's probably not a play for everyone.
This is the play I tried out for- the part of Hallie, but because it was a college production, roles went to students first and there were more girls who tried out than female parts.
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