A Noise Within (ANW), California’s acclaimed classic repertory theatre company, is proud to present Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, directed by ANW Producing Artistic Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. Shepard’s remarkable masterpiece Buried Child will run Oct. 13 through Nov. 23, 2019.
Set in America’s heartland, Sam Shepard’s powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning play details, with wry humor, the disintegration of the American Dream. When 22-year-old Vince unexpectedly shows up at the family farm with his girlfriend Shelly, no one recognizes him. So begins the unraveling of dark secrets. A surprisingly funny look at disillusionment and morality, Shepard’s masterpiece is the family reunion no one anticipated.
“Buried Child is wickedly funny,” said Producing Artistic Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. “Sam Shepard has an uncanny way of bringing out the humor in dysfunction. There’s something familiar, yet not familiar about this family. It’s at once disconcertingly recognizable and inexplicably strange.”
In Buried Child, comedy meets the absurd in a bizarre twist on the family drama that scorches with a powerful commentary on the “American Dream” and what happens when a community simmers in neglect, resentment, and disowned memory. “What happens when we don’t process trauma, and it hangs over our heads?” continued Rodriguez-Elliott. “I don’t know of a play that handles the notion of secrets and collective suffering in a more profound way.”
Written in the 1970s during a time of economic, political, and social turmoil, Buried Child feels more relevant than ever as it uproots all that America claims to value. Shepard’s groundbreaking drama is gritty, yet comical, traditional, yet subversive – plunging deep into the psyche of a family consumed by the past and desperately clinging to an ideal that they lost long ago.
“During the time that Shepard wrote Buried Child, the country was wounded. The rural economy collapsed, which devastated farming communities. The recognition of addiction and mental illness was becoming more prevalent, with not enough treatment options or support to those who needed it most,” explained Rodriguez-Elliott. “The national problems of the 70s have an eerie resemblance to what we’re seeing today.”
Like Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Shepard’s Buried Child follows the style of Theatre of the Absurd as it plays with logic and the natural order, while also incorporating dreamlike imagery, existentialism, and word games. Los Angeles Times describes Buried Child as “a masterpiece of comedic counterpoint,” and Variety calls it “a gut-slashing scalpel of a play that deserves its reputation and one of Shepard’s greatest achievements.”
Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott concluded, “We are excited to bring back to the stage a play that is significant to our time. At this moment in our country, the broken promises of the American Dream and the palpable anger of our rural citizens have never been greater. It is important for us to be having these conversations.”
Single ticket prices for Buried Child start at $25 and are available at anoisewithin.org, by phone at 626-356-3121, and at the box office located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd in Pasadena, Calif.