It's hard to believe that before now Magic Theatre had never staged a production of Sam Shepard's 1985 magnum opus A Lie of the Mind, especially considering the vast number of Shepard plays they have premiered over the years. The playwright's ties to Magic are very close indeed, as he was the theater's artist-in-residence from 1974 to 1984, and A Lie of the Mind is the latest event in their multi-year celebration "Sheparding America." And what an intensely absorbing production it is. The action divides between the wife-and-husband characters of Beth and Jake, with Beth as her family helps her recover from a horrific beating by Jake that inflicted very serious brain damage, and with Jake as he obsesses over memories of Beth and fights through a mysterious illness of his own under the overbearing eye of his mother. The entire 8-person cast is superb, with Jessi Campbell and Sean San José turning in particularly mesmerizing performances as Beth and Jake. I also loved James Wagner as Beth's brother Mike, by turns caring and frustrated as he urges his sister toward recovery, and Julia McNeal (Pearl from Hal Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth!) as Beth's mother Meg infuses the role with just the right amount of innocent surreality. The live music Shepard calls for in the script is performed here by musician/composers Nicholas Aives and Jason Cirimele, and their subtle fiddle and-guitar score skillfully emphasizes the playwright's themes of the American West and the American family. Shepard is never afraid to delve deep into the dark corners of the human psyche, and in A Lie of the Mind he explores how we search for love, and how we suffer for it.
Dashiell Manley at Jessica Silverman Gallery How to Get Away with Murder sin salon Chuck check-up 2 Pianos 4 Hands at Theatreworks KALX H/D: A Symphonic Romance in Space at PianoFight The Lyons at Aurora Theatre
Given the chaos that I (and a huge swath of my friends) have been experiencing over the last few weeks, I thought this would be the right moment to post the above file, a favorite Rilke poem recorded for a beautiful walking meditation piece at Oakland's Krowswork Gallery that took place a few days into the new year. Much gratitude to my audio engineer Michael Becker too!
I'm also taking this opportunity to plug the new membership program at Krowswork, your chance to become an active participant in the space's reinvention. For the last five years Jasmine Moorhead has been curating the kind of thoughtful and exciting programming that has put Oakland on the international art map, and I am thrilled to see how she evolves the gallery into "a Center for Video and Visionary Art." She's going for all or nothing with a Kickstarter campaign, and with 14 days left she's a little over halfway to her goal of $12,000. Support Krowswork, and support cutting-edge and socially-engaged art in Oakland.