Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Buried Child

By Sam Shepard

by Sam Shepard


Directed by Steve Scott

Produced by Shattered Globe Theatre

At the Greenhouse Theatre

“You think just because people propagate that they have to love their offspring?”— Dodge from Buried Child

Stunning production of  Shepard’s Buried Child a ‘must-see’

Shattered Globe Theatre continues mounting excellent productions of classic plays and their latest work is Sam Shepard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize winning Buried Child. Filled with building dramatic tension that begins with Dodge (Maury Cooper) watching TV, smoking and drinking while his estranged wife Halie (the fabulous Linda Reiter)–unseen launches into a monologue that plays out a life-long argument. That device works to both introduce us to the family as well as getting us to focus on the words that have so much subtext.  Bu the end of that diatribe, we hard hooked into wondering about this most distressed family.

Maury Cooper
Maury Cooper

Kevin Hagan’s realsitic set depicting a rural farmhouse aptly sets the visual tone of delapatated dreams.  Buried Child is a most macabre and perversely humorous tale of a Midwestern family burdened with a dark, terrible secret. When the grandson Vince (winning work from Dsvid Dastmalchian) and his girlfriend Shelly (the intense Helen Sadler) return to the family farm, we witness how the new generation comes to gripe with a startling re-examination of their past family dynamics. Vince isn’t recognized by his grandpa Dodge or his father Tilden (Gerrit O’ Neill in a powerful performance). Why–what has happened since Vince left six years ago?

Linda Reiter, Maury Cooper, Gerrit O'Neill
Linda Reiter, Maury Cooper, Gerrit O’Neill

Ripe with  excruciating tension and painful memories, Shepard’s work reeks with mystery and fatalism. This crazy family’s secret dominates and destroys each member.

Shattered Globe’s production contains a fabulous cast of talented players. Maury Cooper, Gerrit O’ Neill and Linda Reiter anchor the work while David Dasmalchian was particularly effective. You’d be hard pressed to find a finer ensemble drama peopled with so many eccentric characters played  as richly as Steve Scott’s players do in this riveting gem. Tension mounts as secrets become know as we witness the disintegration of the American Dream. This is Sam Shepard’s finest work. Shattered Globe Theatre effectively delivers an intense production of this timeless classic.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Jeff Recommended

At The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., chicago, IL, Call 773-404-7336, tickets $30 – $35,  Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through July 12, 2009

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