Sam Shepard Makes the Party

PlayBlog   Sam Shepard Makes the Party
The famously press-skittish Sam Shepard opted to grin and bear for the paparazzi-popping that accompanied the Atlantic Theater opening of his new play, Ages of the Moon, Jan. 27.

At least he stayed for some group shots at the after-party at Moran's before hitting the door. "He's not doing interviews tonight," the publicist explained. But about ten minutes later, Shepard was back amongst 'em, joining Jessica Lange and the party-in-progress, immersing himself in the happy chatter.

A new Sam Shepard play seems as rare as hen's teeth — "I'm always writing plays," he insists — and this one was prodded into production by Dublin's Abbey Theatre where it premiered last year. The entire original cast — both actors — came over for the U.S. launch: Tony nominee Stephen Rea, a proven specialist at Shepard’s work, and Sean McGinley, making his American bow with a face familiar from many films.

At one point in the 75 minutes it takes for the two characters' friendship to unravel, Rea takes a shotgun to a particularly annoying stage prop, setting off a pyrotechnic display of short-circuiting sparks. Proud of the effect, Shepard was showing off to the press the technical wizard who made it happen. His name was Sean, and he still was a New Yorker, just working at The Abbey. He also created the horse cadaver that shared the stage with Rea in Shepard's Kicking a Dead Horse.

"One of those damn sparks set my hair on fire one night," groused Rea, who added with a wry wit, "I guess it would have made a pretty good show, but they fixed it."

— Harry Haun

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