Sam Shepard Black Comedy at Playreaders
By Michael Gottlieb
Playreaders SMA concludes its current season with the sizzling black comedy The God of Hell by legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard. It was written in 2004, three years after 9/11and the Patriot Act and as the Iraq war was in full swing. Folks were starting to get over the shock of the twin towers and ask questions about what was happening to their country. Upon its world premiere, The New York Times reviewer wrote, “A robust new farce that shows Mr. Shepard’s gift for finding deadpan surrealism in bucolic speech. As hilarious as it is sobering.”
The God of Hell
Wed and Thu, Apr 19 and 20, 7:30pm
St. Paul’s Church
Frank (BC May) and Emma (Maggie Bunce) are a quiet, respectable couple who raise cows on their Wisconsin farm. Soon after they agree to put up Frank’s old friend, Haynes (Ken Albanese), who is on the lam from a secret government project involving plutonium, they’re visited by Welch (Harold Dean James), an unctuous government bureaucrat from hell. His aggressive patriotism puts Frank, Emma, and Haynes on the defensive, transforming a heartland American household into a scene of torture and promoting a radioactive brand of conformity with a dangerously long half-life. Newsday called The God of Hell, “Deliriously entertaining, and deeply scary. A shivering work of existential mystery.”
Sam Shepard is an American icon and author of 50 plays. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child, and his other notable titles include Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind. His acting credits in more than 30 films include an Oscar nomination for The Right Stuff, and his screenplay for Paris, Texas, won the Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The God of Hell is quintessential Shepard: funny, dry, ironic, satiric, biting, and ultimately devastating. Directed by Michael Gottlieb, with lights/sound by YaYa Silva Mendez, performed by four wonderful actors, The God of Hell is sure to send you into the night with enthusiastic conversation.
Doors open at 7pm. Performances start at 7:30pm or earlier if the house is full. Donation: 20 pesos.