82.5Posted: March 24, 2016
I read this last night, after scouring the web for other reviews of Buried Child, as a way of figuring out collectively what we thought about it.
This, from the Vulture review:
It’s tempting to blame the director, Scott Elliott — and certainly the unaligned acting styles count against him. (The physical production, however, with its saggy-beamed living room and baleful light, is terrific.) But I wonder if something else is also going on. A 1995 Steppenwolf production, seen on Broadway in 1996, was so beautifully cast and expertly performed, top to bottom, that it may have disguised the disintegrating foundations of the play itself. Those footings are all too visible now. Buried Child is a play about a secret that isn’t one (it’s revealed in the title) and, as Shepard intended, a living-room play reduced to ashes, with no one left living inside it. The tear-down impulse that motivated its creation seems to have consumed itself, in the manner of much symbolic (and reactionary) art. In that regard it’s telling that Shepard’s Fool for Love, a more psychological story written just five years later, still holds up beautifully, as its recent Broadway revival proved. Perhaps, after all, we do care about “this and that” happening, and what results. We (and O’Neill) call it drama.