Everything Old Is New Again
Recent discussions of Sam Shepard's Buried Child at Superfluities, Matt's Site, and Scott Walters's Theatre Ideas, all talk of the ending of the play. The Michael Chekhov Theatre Company in New York is presenting an ambitious series of all of Shepard's work, and this is probably the most appropriate venue. Although many influences are attributed to Shepard, I have always found Chekhov to be the strongest. In particular, Chekhov motivates the beautiful and mysterious ending tableaux of Buried Child, which approaches, as near as possible, pure poetry in its strangely harmonius yet dissonant composition.
Rather than any sort of influences Shepard gained from the avante-garde of the sixties and seventies, (or any Amerian playwright,) the last moments of Buried Child have always seemed to me a deliberate misreading of the ending of The Cherry Orchard.
Here in the Boston Area we are going to get a chance to see, in the next five months, not one, but two productions of The Cherry Orchard.
Trinity Rep's Cherry Orchard opens this month on September 15th.
The Huntington's Cherry Orchard opens in January with Kate Burton.