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Kicking a Dead Horse at Playreaders

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By Susan Rushton

Don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime chance this week at Playreaders to see Kicking a Dead Horse by the late great Sam Shepard. This play, written in 2007, is among the last things Shepard wrote. It is a typical, slyly funny, angst-ridden play with symbolism writ large. However, it differs significantly from Shepard’s earlier much acclaimed plays in that it does not deal with any primal, familial conflict. Apart from the horse and the brief appearance of a mysterious young woman, Kicking a Dead Horse is a one-character play, and the conflict is generated by just this one character.

Hobart Struther is in the throes of a mid-life crisis and also in the midst of a desert where his only companion, his horse, has keeled over and died. Hobart has recently abandoned both his lucrative New York art-scamming business and his wife in a lonely quest for his roots and what he calls authenticity. But now he feels stymied and compelled to dig a grave for his faithful horse. While doing this, he engages in a debate with himself: Hobart the cynic versus Hobart the righteous. A darkly comic dialogue.

Pondering more widely than his own situation, Hobart declares that in America today we have “destroyed education, turned our children into criminals, demolished art, invaded sovereign nations. What more could we possibly do?” Questions that start out about his own predicament suddenly assume larger relevance.

Shepard himself directed the premiere of Kicking a Dead Horse in Dublin in 2007. His instructions concerning the horse are explicit: there should be “no attempt to stylize or cartoon it in any way. In fact it should actually be a dead horse.” Playreaders is always up for a challenge!

Hobart Struther is played by Michael Gottlieb, and the Young Woman is Vicky Jaspeado. Lights and sound are by Dic Simandl, and Susan Rushton directs.

St Paul’s, Cardo 6, Wednesday and Thursday, October 4 and 5.

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets at the door. Requested donation of 20 pesos.



Playreaders presents Kicking a Dead Horse

Wed and Thu, Oct 4 and 5, 7:30pm

St Paul’s, Cardo 6

Tickets at the door

20 pesos donation




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