A Lie of the Mind
March 1, 2013
Understanding Sam Shepard is hard. Therefore, producing his work is an even bigger challenges. As usual, The Seeing Place dives right in and never backs off. Their total commitment to this beast of a play is compelling and commendable. Simply, A Lie of the Mind, does not dissapoint
At the beginning of the play we are introduced to Jake, who has just beaten his wife, Beth to a pulp. As a result of their domestic violence, Beth has received a Traumatic Brain Injury, which severely alters her life. The play follows Beth’s determination to live again and Jake’s seeming remorse. But when Jake’s brother Frankie shows up at Beth’s house, things get really interesting, and Shepard-esque. We start seeing the obscurity of the characters come to life more and more as the play progresses. And Shepard doesn’t fail, his climax is both startling and, in a word, weird.
So that’s the basic plot. Well, there’s nothing “basic” about this production. Erin Cronican, Beth, digs deep and finds the will of her character to survive. (I have seen Cronican perform numerous times, but never on this profound level.) Her struggle, as Beth, to regain some sense of “normalcy” is palpable and inspiring. Similarly, Brandon Walker, Jake, offers a noteworthy performance as the scared abuser, struggling to come to terms with what he did. Both Cronican and Walker are captivating in their own right.
Alan Altschuler, who plays Baylor, Beth’s crude father, is menacing and commanding and Jason Wilson, as Frankie, Jake’s brother, serves the story well. Phillip Lakin, Beth’s brother, is the biggest revelation. He comes on stage with an incredible sense of urgency and intensity that this play requires. Lakin is a scene stealer, in the best sense of the word.
The other cast members are fine, but I do not doubt that they will grow as the run continues. This is definitely a must see. The play raises many relevant topics; from domestic violence to disability. The Seeing Place is not letting it go, as it should be, unnoticed. They are offering talk-backs about some of the hot spots that this play deals with. This is truly Theater That Matters and I hope you will go see it and reflect, as I did, on the timeliness of the issues found in the play.
A Lie of the Mind plays March 1 – 17, 2013, Wed-Sat @ 7pm; Sat & Sun @ 2pm The Seeing Place @ ATA’s Sargent Theater 314 West 54th St. 4th Floor. NYC