Flock to Shepard

suicide in b flatSam Shepard, a product of the Yale School of Drama and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, is one weird mother. Often, you are hard pressed to figure out whether his statements are as odd or otherwise anachronistic as they appear — or just merely ironic. The play is a tough one, dealing with the dark side of fame, the inescapability of fate, the heredity of madness. Do you need to kill yourself to live? Could you stop yourself?

(Sam Shepard, interestingly enough, shares a similar name with Dr. Sam Sheppard, the doctor accused of bludgeoning his pregnant wife to death. That is, the plot line behind “The Fugitive.” Dr. Sheppard died in 1970, while the playwright Shepard still draws oxygen.)

The play is alternately subtle and aggressive, always demanding your attention. Many of the plot lines are ambiguous, but seem to be purposefully so. The acting is riveting, and production quality is top notch. The main feature of the set — a cutout of a prone figure — draws your eyes and sets the tone of the piece.

This rarely performed play has the feel of a riff, a series of notes put together, almost at random, that pull together to create its whole. It is a trick to give this piece the discombobulated overtones it requires without driving its audience nuts. Fortunately, the actors and director were clearly up to the task, and it works. It confounds, but not to the point of distraction, and gives you the tools to make up your own mind.

Suicide in Bb by Sam Shepard
Playing Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 8 p.m.
October 20th – November 16th
The Hayworth Theater
2511 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90057

Tickets: Plays411 or 323-960-7740