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A Lie of the Mind

A Lie of the Mind
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Sam Shepard
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 101
Pub. Date: 1986
ISBN-10: 0822206560
ISBN-13: 9780822206569
Cast Size: 4 female, 4 male

About the Play:

A Lie of the Mind has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female monologues, female/female scenes, female/male scenes, and male/male scenes.

A Lie of the Mind is a full-length drama by Sam Shepard. After a severe incident of spousal abuse tears Jake and Beth apart, their two families hole up to await the backlash. Set in rural California and Montana, Sam Shepard's classic road-worn characters become caught up in a deranged and piercing fable that renders open harsh realities of their familial dysfunction, loyalty and the nature of love.

A Lie of the Mind involves two desperate families connected by the marriage of the son of one, Jake, to the daughter of the other, Beth. As the play begins Beth, brain-damaged from a savage beating that Jake has given her, is being tended by her parents, Baylor and Meg. Jake sends his brother, Frankie, to Montana to see if she is dead or alive, but Beth's father, mistaking Frankie for a poacher, shoots him in the leg and takes him prisoner. Thereafter the tensions and enmities that motivate the two families grow increasingly disturbing and dangerous. Frankie falls in love with Beth, but her brother, Mike, is bitterly determined that she no longer have anything to do with her husband or his loathsome family. Meanwhile the distraught, hysterical Jake, back home in California, is nursed by his possessive mother, Lorraine, and his sister, Sally, to whom Lorraine is openly hostile. Having gotten Jake back from Beth, Lorraine is determined to keep him with her forever, but Jake soon recovers and sets out to regain his wife. In the end, however, his will fails, and he allows Beth to stay with Frankie; Lorraine burns down her house and departs for Ireland with Sally; and Jake, bereft and alone, seeks communication with his dead father by gently dispersing his ashes into the moonlight – hoping to find order and meaning in the present by coming to terms with the haunting spectres of the past. A Lie of the Mind is a landmark play that in the words of the New York Times, "…is the unmistakable expression of a major writer nearing the height of his powers."

A Lie of the Mind premiered in 1985 Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theatre and ran won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best New Play. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 female, 4 male

What people say:

"A Lie of the Mind is a mesmerizing, emotionally raw play that once again pulls the view into Shepard's distinctive world of disturbed reality and hungry hearts." — Variety

"Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, his newest and most mature work to date, is a brilliant theatrical rendering, a play of enormous emotional power and intellectual strength." — The Hollywood Reporter

"Sam Shepard is surely the only dramatist alive who could tell a story as sad and frightening as this one and make such a funny play of it without ever skimping on its emotional depth." — The New Yorker

"…unforgettable." — Time Magazine

About the Playwright:

Sam Shepard (1943-2017) was an American playwright and actor. Born in Illinois and raised in Southern California, he worked as a farmhand and musician before moving to New York to begin his career as a playwright. The celebrated author – who New York Magazine called "the greatest American playwright of his generation" – wrote more than forty plays, eleven of which have won Obie Awards. His play Buried Child won the Pulitzer for drama. Two other plays True West and Fool for Love were nominated for the Pulitzers as well, and are frequently revived. As an actor he appeared in more than thirty films, including an Oscar nominated performance for his role as test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

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