The Late Henry Moss

By Sam Shepardthe artistic home

Directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed

At The Artistic Home, Chicago

Gritty, raw and violent Sam Shepard drama explosively works on stage

The Late Henry Moss, written in 2000 by Sam Shepard is the last of Shepard’s obsession with father-son and brother verses brother dramas usually set in the American West in grungy surrounds peopled by folks worn out by life. In this complex and often bewildering drama, ¬†filled with nicely staged flashbacks, we meet Henry Moss (terrific work by Fran Nail) in various states – as a dead man, as a spry drunken soul, and in various states seen from his son’s memories. We see that Moss was a booze-riddled broken man whose violent ways broke up his family and ultimate led him to the New Mexico desert where despite being cared for by a neighborly man, Estaban (Arvin Jalandoon) and his lover Conchalla (Yadira Correa), a Mexican woman shaman, Moss drinks himself to death. the artistic home When Moss’ sons, Earl (David Vogel) and Ray (Tim Musachio) arrive at the hovel, they immediately renew old conflicts as their memories of their father antagonize their strained relationship. Even in death, the dominant father dominates and consumes the sons. Ray is determined to learn just how dad died while Earl is content to mourn his father’s death. the artistic home Much of this drama is filled with a blend of flashbacks and memories from the sons and from the Taxi Driver (Julian Hester) who took Moss and Conchalla on a fishing trip just before Moss’ death.

Their is an eerie mystery element about how Moss met his fate as well as a cathartic purging from the brothers at work here. the artistic home The action is nicely staged as its use of violence, deeply felt emotions, and old memories both fuel and impede the characters. Lovers of Shepard’s plays (me included) were impressed with this actor’s play. The psychological elements and the father-son dynamic engages and intoxicates audiences.

Frank Nail was born to play the drunken Henry Moss and Vogel and Muscachio were outstanding as the troubled sons. Julian Hester and Arvin Jalandoon turned in fine supporting performances also.

Sam Shepard is an acquired taste, a tad to violent and gritty for some but his psychological depth of characters yields powerful drama. The Late Henry Moss is a rarely produced work that showcases Shepard’s style of theater. It’ll grab you and keep you engaged throughout.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2014

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout The Late Henry Moss page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Artistic Home Theatre, 1376 W. Grand, Chicago, IL, call 866-811-4111, www.theartistichome.org, tickets $28 – $32, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays ar 8 pm, Sundays at 5 pm, running time is 2 hours & 20 minutes with intermission, through August 3, 2014

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