New Sam Shepard Play God of Hell to Debut Off-Broadway Oct. 29

News   New Sam Shepard Play God of Hell to Debut Off-Broadway Oct. 29 Sam Shepard's fall just got busier. In addition to appearing in Caryl Churchill's A Number at New York Theatre Workshop this fall, the playwright-actor will see his latest drama, God of Hell, staged at the former Westbeth Theatre Center (151 Bank Street) in Greenwich Village for four weeks beginning Oct. 29, the New York Times reported.
Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard Photo by Aubrey Reuben

New School University is producing the work, which was written over the summer, and tracks the lives of a put-upon Midwestern couple. Randy Quaid and J. Smith-Cameron will play the cattle-raising husband and wife, and Tim Roth will be a government official. A fourth character, a fugitive from a nuclear laboratory, is not yet cast. Shepard called the play "a takeoff on Republican fascism," and added "I kind of wanted to get it done in New York before the election. I'm not sure it matters, but I figured I'd get it out there."

Shepard's motivation mirrors that of other name playwrights who have rushed new political plays into production this year in order to have an impact on the upcoming presidential election. A.R. Gurney's Mrs. Farnsworth was fast-tracked into production at the Flea Theatre this past summer, with two stars in the lead roles—Sigourney Weaver and John Lithgow. It has been revived twice since then. Also, Tony Kushner has put together several star-laden readings of his latest work-in-progress, Only We Who Guard the Secret Shall Be Unhappy, which features Laura Bush as a character.

Shepard told the Times he had wanted British director Matthew Warchus to stage the piece, but he was unavailable. Instead, Lou Jacob will pilot the work. Shepard mentioned the actors will be doing the project for very little money and New School students will perform administrative duties and act as understudies.