|Terry Hempleman as Dodge (photo by Dan Norman)|
|Shelly and Tilden clean the carrots (Charlotte Calvert and|
Brian Goranson, photo by Dan Norman)
Rather than trying to create a realistic looking house inside the cavernous space of the Southern Theater, scenic/prop designer Justin Spooner just hints at the worn-down family farmhouse with a shabby couch, a free-standing screen door, and stairs leading backstage to an imagined upstairs where mother spends most of her time ("the world doesn't stop just because you're upstairs!"). And there are vegetables, lots of vegetables (I hope the cast has a feast every night after the show!). Costume designer Rebecca Bernstein has clothed the men of the family in almost too real-looking dirty clothes, which contrast with Halie's prim and proper attire and Shelly's NYC duds. Sound designer Tim Cameron keeps the sound of rain audible just below the dialogue (another reason the sunshine was so jarring after the show).
This was my fourth experience with a Sam Shepard play (see also True West, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind), and I can't get enough. He's written dozens of plays and he's still writing (as well as acting in TV and movies), so hopefully I'll have more opportunities to experience his deliciously dark American stories. But for now you can experience his most acclaimed work through Red Bird Theatre's excellent production at the Southern Theater (through June 19).