A Lie of the Mind

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A Lie of the Mind
Written by Sam Shepard
Date premieredDecember 5, 1985
Place premieredPromenade Theater
New York City, New York
Original languageEnglish
SubjectTwo families torn apart by tragedy
A scene from the play A Lie of the Mind IMG 1617 (45380665834).jpg
A scene from the play

A Lie of the Mind is a play written by Sam Shepard, first staged at the off-Broadway Promenade Theater on 5 December 1985. The play was directed by Shepard himself with stars Harvey Keitel as Jake, Amanda Plummer as Beth, Aidan Quinn as Frankie, Geraldine Page as Lorraine, and Will Patton as Mike. The music was composed and played by the North Carolina bluegrass group the Red Clay Ramblers.


Some critics consider the play the conclusion of a quintet that includes Shepard's Family Trilogy: Curse of the Starving Class (1976), Buried Child (1979), and True West (1980), plus Fool for Love (1983). [1]

Plot synopsis

Told in three acts set in Montana and California, the story alternates between two families after a severe incident of spousal abuse leaves all their lives altered until the final collision at an isolated cabin. The two families are linked by the marriage of Jake (son of Lorraine and brother of Sally and Frankie) and Beth (daughter of Baylor and Meg and sister of Mike). The play begins with Beth recuperating in her parents' home after a hospitalization resulting from Jake's abuse. Exploring family dysfunction and the nature of love, the play follows Jake as he searches for meaning after his relationship with Beth and her family as they struggle with Beth's brain damage. [2]

Production history

A Lie of the Mind was first produced Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theatre on December 5, 1985, closing on June 1, 1986 after 186 performances. [3]

The cast was as follows: [4]


The first major Off-Broadway revival of A Lie of the Mind was staged by the New Group at the Acorn Theatre. [5] [6] Ethan Hawke directed the production with an ensemble cast featuring Keith Carradine (Baylor), Josh Hamilton (Frankie), Marin Ireland (Beth), Laurie Metcalf (Meg), Alessandro Nivola (Jake), Maggie Siff (Sally), Frank Whaley (Mike), and Karen Young (Lorraine; Sally in the 1985 production). [5] [7] The show began previews on January 29, 2010, with a limited engagement from February 18 to March 20, 2010. [6] It was nominated for five Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Revival, [8] and two Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Director of a Play. [9] The cast was featured on The New Yorker's list of the Best Performers of 2010. [10]

A revival in the UK was staged at the Southwark Playhouse in 2017, [11] receiving excellent notices including 5 Stars from The Times of London. [12]

Awards and nominations

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  1. Roudané, Matthew (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard. Cambridge University Press, ISBN   9780521777667
  2. PJ Butler (2003-09-21). "A Lie of the Mind: Shattered Parts Are Swept Away". TheaterScene.net. Archived from the original on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
  3. Rich, Frank (December 6, 1985). "Theater: 'A LIE OF THE MIND,' by Sam Shepard". New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  4. Gary M. Grant (2008). "A Lie of the Mind: Production notes". Bucknell University Theatre and Dance. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  5. 1 2 Healy, Patrick (2010-01-27). "New Search for the Truth in 'A Lie'". The New York Times . Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  6. 1 2 Hernandez, Ernio (2010-01-29). "Carradine, Metcalf and Hamilton Lead Starry Cast of Shepard's Lie of the Mind Off-Broadway". Playbill . Archived from the original on 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  7. Brantley, Ben (2010-02-19). "Theatre Review - 'A Lie of the Mind' - NYTimes.com". The New York Times . Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  8. Healy, Patrick (2010-04-01). "Lucille Lortel Nominees Announced". The New York Times . Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
  9. Gans, Andrew (2010-05-03). "Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced; Ragtime and Scottsboro Top List". Playbill . Archived from the original on 6 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  10. Als, Hilton (2010-12-17). "The Best Performers of 2010". The New Yorker . Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  11. Longman, Will (10 March 2017). "Exclusive: Casting announced for A Lie of the Mind at Southwark Playhouse". whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  12. Maltby, Kate (11 May 2017). "Theatre: A Lie of the Mind at Southwark Playhouse, SE1". The Times. Retrieved 25 April 2018.