Spring Play 2012 - "Buried Child"

Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-Winning play Buried Child was our 2012 Spring Play, and it was produced in the WGHS Little Theater in March.
Was presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

The production was directed by Mr. Schaefer, stage managed by Megan O'Brien & Liv Kohring. Brigit Carmody Assistant Directed.

We had one preview performance and three evening performances.

Hal Matthews and Abigail Oldham
(photo courtesy of Meaghan Sullivan)

This was an incredibly complex show for the department to tackle, but with over 4 months of planning and preparation we pulled it off! The audiences loved this twisted mess of a family, and we were happy to take on the challenge of such an amazing puzzle of a story. We all know what a metaphor is now...right kids? We all understand dramatic structure too? Right kids? This was an awesome lesson in storytelling. Sam's the best!

Poster Design by Jesse Billingsly (4th hour Technical Theater)

Technical theater began working on thius crazy show before winter break by completing an in-class read through of the entire script out loud with members of the class playing the roles. (we alternated each day, and so we got to hear many different interpretations of these characters between the two tech classes). It is so cool to see high school tech theatre kids excited to read! Thanks to Mr. Shepard we had the best time reading this play in class. Lots to interpret...they were absolutely hooked! The didn't understand all of it at first, but after they saw it live...it all made sense.

We made a lot of lists and started to draw!

Next...we held one night of auditions right before classes finshed up for the semester. They ran about three hours total and we had the actors reading small monolgues and they also did some scene work. The cuttings were posted the day before so the actors could do a bit of preparation. It was a very exciting audition, and the turn out was very competitive. We had a difficult time with the final casting, but in the end it always seems to fit just right. This cast played their parts perfectly. They worked very hard. They played even harder.

The Cast of Buried Child
Hal Matthews as Dodge
Abigail Oldham as Halie
Patrick Duggan as Tilden
Duncan Kinzie as Bradley
Nathan Eswine as Vincent
Aerin Johnson as Rev Dewis

Melanie Umbaugh as Shelly

This play offered some realy great opportunity to our tech students as well. We had several special effects and a soundscape throughout the show. The lighting took many hours to hang and focus with many onstage practicals wired into the set. The set was designed and built by the Technical Theatre classes, and it was mostly completed during classtime.

Some of the special effects:
  • We made it rain with real leaking gutters outside the window and a recorded soundscape for all of Act I and II. Tech students hand poured gallons of water each night for this wonderful effect.
  • We made a fake dead baby and a faked an amputated leg!
  • We broke over 7 real glass bottles LIVE each night
  • We made Tilden come out of the muddy corn field and rain...he was really wet!


This show offered some really great make-up opportunity

...With applications of old age on Dodge and Halie.

...and tatoos on Dodge and Vince

The Crew

Meaghan Sullivan…….......Photographer
Kerry Gaynor………………….Props
Ryan Tumminello…………..Lights
David Schwartz……………..Sound
Evan Main……………………..Special FX
Daisy Hudspeth……………..Special FX
Emma Lingle………………….House Mgr.
Perri Edwards………………..Box Office
5th, 6th , and 7th tech……….Set design/lights

Public Relations
5th and 6th hour Technical Theater Classes designed all PR materials
Specifically:Jackson Meyers……………………………….T-shirt
Max Midlin, Hannah Tuxbury, Jesse Billingsly, Emma Lingle, and Jessica Perry............................................................Poster

Special Thanks
Debbie Genovese for the incredible t-shirts and banner in the Junior entrance, Maureen Cashel for being our printing GODDESS, Schnucks Supermarket for the discount on all the produce used in the show, Tom Edwards for all his help in class and letting us borrow his knife, The ECHO for their services, The WGHS Administration for being there for us when we need them, Jimmy Springer for being the “closer”on oh so many unfinished projects, and of course to Mrs. Romanowski for letting the cast rehearse in class and being our “Momma”.

T-Shirt Design by Jackson Meyers

Director’s Notes (from the program)

This play is a labor of love for all involved. I believe it has taught us more than we could have ever imagined about the complexity and rigor of a Sam Shepard play and good American drama.

I first saw this play back in the 90’s and have always thought of it as one of those plays that I knew I would get to tackle at some point in my career. I am so fortunate to have this group of actors and technicians willing to put in the work required to give it life.

The themes and messages in the play can seem simple and obvious on the surface, but the plot is a puzzle. This family has a dark secret, and you will only see the real meaning if you put the clues together. The metaphors are plentiful and complicated. Nobody is innocent in their choices and no one is ever to be trusted. Everyone has an agenda and everyone has a past.

Sit back, but don’t think you’ll be allowed to relax. This is Sam Shepard, and he expects you to do just as much work as the performers. Enjoy the twisted tale of Buried Child. If you need to…come back and see it again! - Mr. Schaefer

Wikipedia Links to help you on your way to further reading:

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Buried Child

The American Dream

Sam Shepard

of our production of
"Buried Child"

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