‘Buried Child’ to Premiere Friday at CAC
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012 00:02
Audiences will be treated to the West Virginia University's School of Theatre and Dance's interpretation of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, "Buried Child," Friday, with recurring showings until March 4.
Since its debut in 1979, renowned playwright Samuel Shepard's "Buried Child" has captivated audiences with a variety of emotions uncanny to typical drama.
"It's hard to categorize because it's not a traditional tragedy," said Jerry McGonigle, the play's director, and director of graduate acting at WVU. "One minute you can laugh and another be horrified. It shifts and changes."
The play takes place on a farm, where violence, mystery and dark secrets surround a complicated family.
Insanity ensues when a mysterious grandson and his girlfriend arrive to join an alcoholic grandfather, a self-righteous grandmother and their two sons – an amputee with several problems and a former football star back from Mexico for unknown reasons.
McGonigle describes his interpretation of the play with Dodge, the "dying king,"finding a successor before he dies. Dodge encounters obstacles in his journey to find the successor and ultimately resting peace.
Shepard has written dozens of plays in addition to his acting and directing career, but "Buried Child" is considered to be one of his most famous works. Multiple outlets, including the New York Post, New York Times and New York Magazine praise his talent, ability and playwriting brilliance.
McGonigle said Shepard's writing style wins over audiences because his ability to alternate between humor and danger leaves the viewers with an "emotional catharsis," a releasing of repressed emotions.
"Shepard is working on a mythic level – myths in a sense of truths," McGonigle said. "Truths about living, family, survival, fertility, death, resurrection, sin and atonement."
According to the play's online blog site, theatre students Greg Holt, Sarah Lemanski, Ben Roberts, Brandon Chowen, Will Stout, McKenna Kirchner and Todd Berkich have been working diligently in rehearsal for over a month in preparation for Friday's opening night.
McGonigle said he appreciates the opportunity to direct this play and has been a fan of "Buried Child" since he first saw it in 1979.
"Thirty-three years later, I am honored to work on this play," he said. "I think it is Shepard's best play, and it resonates as strongly now as it did then."
The first show is this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Gladys G. Davis Theatre and will show again Saturday at the same time.
The showings on Feb. 28 to March 3 will also begin at 7:30 p.m. The two Sunday shows, Feb. 26 and March 4, will be matinee performances, starting at 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 26 will also be interpreted for the hearing impaired.
Tickets are on sale now for $20 to the general public, $18 for WVU faculty and staff as well as senior citizens, $15 for students and $10 as a group rate for purchases of 10 or more.
Tickets are available at the Mountainlair Box Office, ticketmaster.com or by calling 304-293-SHOW.