Thespians prepare controversial play

Sophomore Melanie Umbaugh, senior Patrick Dugan and junior Nathan Eswine rehearse “Buried Child.” The drama department’s production of “Buried Child” will be the first high school production of the play in the Midwest. Photo by Kevin Killeen.

Kevin Killeen
Editor in Chief

By touching on topics like the deconstruction of the American dream, heroism, bisexuality, drug use, unethical relationships, alcoholism and inter-marital relationships, the production “Buried Child,” is “something a little more than your typical high school play,” said senior Patrick Dugan.

The drama department will run its production of “Buried Child,” on March 8, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater. Tickets will be $5 for students and $7 for adults.

Because of some of the uncomfortable topics that “Buried Child” possesses, it has never been performed as a high school production in the Midwest.

Due to this landmark performance, the drama department will produce a documentary, recording its progress toward preparation of the play.

“Buried Child” was written by Sam Shepard and first presented in 1978. According to drama teacher Todd Schaefer, it is about a dysfunctional family that is forced to deal with the truth of its past. “It’s a Greek tragedy set up in southern Illinois in the 1950s,” said Schaefer.

In 1979, “Buried Child” won a Pulitzer Prize for drama.

“It won a Pulitzer Prize because as a script it opens up lots of question marks and leaves room for interpretation,” said Schaefer.

However, there are two parts in the script where the “F” word is used. Schaefer feels these scenes are some of the most powerful points in the play, and the “F” word is absolutely necessary and appropriate.
“I’m going to fight to keep the ‘F’ word in this play. It’s a Pulitzer Prize [winner],” said Schaefer. Schaefer added the posters for the play will suggest the content is for a “mature audience” only.

This is not the first time the drama department has run a controversial play. In 2009 it produced “Urinetown,” a play about a community fighting against an imposed bathroom tax — fighting for the right to “pee free.”

In 2011, the drama department ran “A New Brain,” a play where both of the main characters are homosexual. However, both these plays went well with audiences and a positive response. Schaefer expects “Buried Child” to go over just as well.

The moral of the play is that choice is everything — make good choices, and bad things won’t happen. Schaefer insists the sensitive issues are smaller parts of the play.

“It all seems very plausible when you see it on stage,” said Schaefer.

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