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Sam Shepard's "Buried Child" gets revived in Santa Fe

18 Mar 2013 11:52 AM
Sam Shepard's

It's been more than three decades since Sam Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child, but in the intervening years both he and the play have remained staunchly lodged in the American drama scene. It is no wonder, then, that an upcoming production of the historic play is already generating a great deal of excitement. The production runs from March 28 - April 14 at the Santa Fe Playhouse.

Despite being first staged in 1978, Buried Child has not lost any of its urgency or electricity. Loosely centered around a realistic family drama, the performance mixes in elements of symbolism and surrealism. Set against the backdrop of the economic downturn of the '70s, Buried Child manages to deal with large, pressing issues without sacrificing any of Shepard's famous - albeit dark - humor. 

This sardonic air will surely be on display in the upcoming production, which is directed by Santa Fe drama stalwart Mona Malec. Malec is fresh off last season's successful production of The Guys, a play that grappled with the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and won much acclaim among Santa Fe theater fans.

In Buried Child, Malec will be handling a decidedly different topic. The play has remained a favorite in American theater circles for its unflinching look at the decline of rural America and a classic storyline involving blistering domestic drama, which is a recurring theme in Shepard's plays. The playwright has said that he focuses on rural family life and long-simmering strife because of his own family's history. 

"Most of it comes, I guess, from my dad's side of the family," Shepard said in an interview with The Paris Review. "They're a real bizarre bunch, going back to the original colonies. It goes back generations and generations."