The University Theatre presents
A Lie of the Mind
by Sam Shepard
February 20-24, 2002
Scenic Design by
Costume Design by
Sound Design by
* Member of The Anthony
Scenic Art Crew
Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Box Office &
Front of House Staff
* Member of The Anthony Aston Players
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY THEATRE
Costume Studio Supervisor
Joetta Shepherd and the staff of Family Services
The people we interviewed, thanks to the help of Family Services, were more open and accommodating than we could have hoped. Their experiences and insights, which they graciously allowed us to record, have been invaluable, helping the actors to be more specific, braver, and more emotionally connected. They also helped us uncover the irony in Shepard's description of the play as "a little love story," forcing us to consider the disturbing ability we have in this culture to confuse love with obsession. Angie and I were also struck by the amount of laughter we found in the interviews-and, incidentally, in rehearsing the play-a sure sign of human resiliency in the face of difficult lives.
Along with the interviews, and my usual binder-full of reviews and articles, Michael Taav's A Body Across the Map, and Angela Browne's When Battered Women Kill have been especially valuable sources for me. A random reference from an early review has also stayed with me throughout: the original title of the play was Blood Ties: A Lie of the Mind. In many of Shepard's early plays-notably A Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, and True West-he struggles to communicate the biological and/or historical hex his families face. They seem bound to their biological destiny, for better or worse. But here, in A Lie of the Mind, he seems to see the possibility of moving past our blood-past our family demons, cycles, and obsessions. He seems, as Michael Taav suggests, to allow many of these characters to "unseal their fates." This is not to say Shepard gives us a fairytale ending or even practical solutions, but he does ask us to consider how the cycle can be broken, if not healed. In the meantime, the play gives us the richest set of women characters you can find in Shepard-not to mention his usual bunch of complex men.
After five years,
I can say that my experience with A Lie of the Mind has come full circle.
Drawn to the play by young actors, this rehearsal process has reaffirmed
the value-in fact, the vital importance-of exploring lives that might
at first seem almost impossible for undergraduate actors to empathize
with. They have met the challenge admirably. I'd like to dedicate this
production to them, and to Angie Hattery, whose reliability, humor, and
hard work have inspired me throughout this process. But most of all I'd
like to offer this performance as a thank you to the women and men who
gave so generously of their time and experience to make our "Families
in Crisis" study a reality. This is for you.
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