Friday, April 27, 2018


Sam Shepard burst on the scene in the mid ‘60s with a raw intensity that reconfigured the “family drama.” Betrayal was mother’s milk ... Rage almost always fueled romance … Secrets were buried deep in the ground … Brothers and sisters exploded taboos and the quintessential American male was a cowboy racing demons across the desert.

Shepard died much too young last year which is perhaps why his plays are now experiencing a resurgence. You won’t find a smarter or a funnier TRUE WEST than Daniel Bourque’s savagely jocular production for HUB Theatre (playing through April 28th). Bourque’s juggernaut pits brother against brother, cleverly allowing us to see the shifting balance the very moment the scales are tipped. If you haven’t encountered TRUE WEST before, you’ll be struck by its visceral energy and dark humor. If you have, you’ll be mightily impressed by Bourque’s shrewd intuition.

Of course, there’s a certain subtext to the conversation when a movie producer arrives to discuss a screenplay (with Bob Mussett’s smoldering brother). Of course, the scary brother (a fiercely wild Victor Shopov) steals his thunder with talk of golf, sweaty locker room showers and suggestive towel snapping … but no one has ever played the producer scene that way before in the many, many productions I’ve seen. Robert Orzalli is delightfully sleazy as the Hollywood power broker bedecked with the requisite gold chains and white shoes. Add in Maureen Adduci as the oblivious mom, and you have a hit, a palpable hit as the Bard would say.

Ben Lieberson’s kitschy, middle class crescent set gives the siblings lots of room to spar (with a kitchen sink for Shopov’s loping, furtive brother to lounge in), while Jay Mobley’s original, evocative spaghetti western music prepares us for the showdown at the OK Coral. Do not miss Hub’s TRUE WEST. All performances are pay-what-you-can!