Press Release

February 12, 2018
Tucson’s Speak The Speech Theatre to Produce:

Buried Child
By Sam Shepard

The play performs Thursday through Sunday
April 5th –  April 22nd, 2018

Community Playhouse
1891 N. Oracle Rd. Tucson, AZ
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 7:30 P.M.
Sundays @ 2 P.M.

$20 Adults, $15 Senior/Student/Military
$10 Group of 6+

To purchase tickets call Paul (520) 904-8054 or go to our

To say that the action of Sam Shepard’s 1978 Pulitzer prize-winning play revolves around the death of a child is hardly a plot spoiler. The title tells us everything, yet nothing. Sure, there was a child and it was buried; we learn where it lies and how it got there; we even get to know a bit about the why of its death. However, even though this is the big “secret” shared by four of the characters, Shepard’s jagged dramatic form does not rely on suspense to rivet interest. Plot is less important than the complex, tortured relationships between the aged mother and father, their two adult sons, a visiting grandson, his girlfriend and a local priest.

Shepard’s writing poses a challenge to actors. The vivid dialogue, its everyday language vibrating with mythic resonances, shuffles rapidly between comedy, horror and tragedy. These characters make split-second shifts from naturalism to grand guignol via melodrama.

“Buried Child” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 and became Sam Shepard’s first widely produced play.  Shepard combines the absurdism of Edward Albee with the earthiness of “Tobacco Road”. Shepard’s gift for language is captured in the play’s opening scene, Halie (Lissa Staples) is out of sight upstairs yelling down to her husband, Dodge (Ken Beider) who sits on the couch watching TV, coughing, and drinking whiskey. She’s badgering him to take care of his health, which is clearly shot, amid reminiscences of a dead son, whom she has idealized beyond recognition. When Halie finally appears, she is dressed for church and complaining about the Catholic woman she blames for the murder of that child, a man who could have been the American Dream. Clearly Halie’s other two sons are a deep disappointment to her: the mentally feeble Tilden (Boz Lomasney) and the brutish amputee Bradley (Davin Wang), who has a penchant for shaving his father’s head and leaving ugly scabs behind on his scalp.

If Shepard were a woman, “Buried Child” would be called the work of a misandrist. His plays never have much good to say about men, and this is a bleak exposé of the male condition. While Halie is away at church having an affair with the local minister (David Zinke), her grandson, Vince (Marcus Gallegos), and his girlfriend, Shelly (Veronica Conran), make an unexpected visit after his not having been at the old homestead for six years. They’re on their way to the Southwest to visit his dad, Tilden, whom they don’t know is now living back home and finding all sorts of corn, carrots, and potatoes in the back 40 that hasn’t grown a thing since the Dust Bowl. That miracle green isn’t the only thing pushing the boundaries of absurdity.

For more information or questions call our company manager Paul Brunelle at (520) 904-8054 or email