Geography of a Horse Dreamer

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Geography of a Horse Dreamer
Written by Sam Shepard
Characters Cody
The Doctor
The Waiter
Date premiered 21 February 1974
Place premiered Theatre Upstairs
Original language English
Genre Drama
Setting two hotel rooms, one sleazy and one fancy

Geography of a Horse Dreamer is a play by Sam Shepard.

Sam Shepard American playwright and actor

Samuel Shepard Rogers III, known professionally as Sam Shepard, was an American actor, playwright, author, screenwriter, and director whose career spanned half a century. He won ten Obie Awards for writing and directing, the most won by any writer or director. He wrote 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film The Right Stuff. He received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York magazine described Shepard as "the greatest American playwright of his generation."


Production history

Geography of a Horse Dreamer was first performed at the Theatre Upstairs in London, on 21 February 1974. The cast was as follows:

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Stephen Rea Irish actor

Stephen Rea is an Irish film and stage actor. Rea has appeared in films such as V for Vendetta, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto. Rea was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game. He has during later years had important roles in the Hugo Blick TV series The Shadow Line and The Honourable Woman, for which he won a BAFTA Award.

Bob Hoskins English actor

Robert William Hoskins was an English actor. His work included lead roles in Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.

Kenneth Cranham is a Scottish film, television, radio and stage actor. He is popularly known for his work in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Valkyrie.


Plot summary

The play is in two acts. In the first act(entitled "The Slump"), which takes place in a sleazy hotel room, apparently in the United States, Cody is chained to a bed, where he is being watched by two gangsters, Beaujo and Santee. A radio announces the action at a local race track for horses. Cody keeps begging the gangsters to unlock him from the bed, but they refuse because they're afraid he'll try to escape. The audience learns that Cody was kidnapped by the gangsters because he has the ability to predict the winners of races in his dreams – they refer to him as a "dreamer." Cody finally talks them into unlocking him for a short time, and some attempted escapes take place, but Cody is stopped. The gangsters complain that Cody has lost his ability to predict winners, and they keep wondering what their bosses are going to do to him. By the end of the first act, the pressure has mounted on Cody, and he begins to regain his ability to predict winners, although they are in dog races.

The second act (entitled "The Hump") takes place in a much fancier hotel room, apparently in England. The gangsters are still watching Cody, but he is unchained from his bed. Although Cody picked a long series of winners in dog races, bringing in a lot of money for the gangsters and their bosses, he has since cooled down, and he is again being threatened. The gangsters' boss, Fingers, shows up with the Doctor. They are about to perform surgery on Cody, cutting the "dreamer bone" out of his neck, which allows him to dream winners – this will kill Cody, but the Doctor says that the bone can be inserted in someone else's neck, and that person will become a "dreamer." Just as they are about to cut Cody apart, the hotel room is invaded by Cody's two brothers, Jasper and Jason, who shoot all of the gangsters with shotguns. The two brothers are dressed as farmers. They rescue Cody and leave with him. Once they are gone, a Waiter comes in to see if anyone wants to order food. He hardly seems concerned that the gangsters are lying wounded on the floor. One of them asks the Waiter to play a record, which had been Cody's favorite, and which he was always asking the gangsters to play on a record player, but they wouldn't. The Waiter puts on the record, a zydeco tune (Shepard names a specific record in the script), and it plays, as the play ends.

Character summaries

Cody is an unpredictable, kidnapped cowboy who dreams the winners of races. Beaujo is a Chicago gangster with a heart of gold, Santee's side-kick. Santee is the aggressive partner of Beaujo in surveying the titular Horse Dreamer, Cody....


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