Jan 31, 2010

"Lie" Remembered

Somewhere in a box full of my college-newspaper clips is my intemperate rave for Bob Woodruff's stark 1988 production at the Taper of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. The play that changed my life? Maybe not, but it sure did excite the hell out of me at the time, and not just because Holly Hunter was in it, along with John Diehl, Amy Madigan, James Gammon and Louise Latham. The onstage music was by Peter Case and Victoria Williams. I know I saw it twice; might have been thrice.

While the play itself had an intense impact on me at the time (I even wrote a song called "Fire in the Snow," inspired by an image from the play's last few lines), its main impact was on my career more than my tastes; I started covering Downtown L.A. theater with great interest--at the Taper, at LATC, at Al's Bar. I didn't quite become a Shepard-head--I later loved A Noise Within's Buried Child and the Hoffman/Reilly True West, though Fool for Love has always left me cold, and my next review of his work, many years later, was somewhat less ecstatic. Still, the experience undeniably formative. And though I may not get out to see the New Group's inevitably star-studded new revival, but it's nice to have it around to remind me of that pivotal theatergoing experience. (Sounds like there was also a pretty strong L.A. revival under director John Langs in December.)

No comments: