CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will present "Buried Child," a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Sam Shepard, this April in Withycombe Hall. Acknowledged as one of the most evocative, powerful and disturbing plays in recent American drama, "Buried Child" explores Shepard's unique vision of the corrosive decay of the American family and civilization, said Marion O. Ross, who will direct OSU's version of the play.

Performances are scheduled for April 5-7 and April 12-14. Tickets, priced at $8 for general admission, $5 for seniors and $4 for students, may be reserved beginning April 2 at the University Theatre box office (541-737-2784).

The storyline of "Buried Child" is deceptively simple. A young man named Vince (portrayed by John Nichols) arrives unannounced at the Illinois farmhouse of his grandparents, Dodge (Aaron Windeler) and Halie (Jen Waters), after six years of separation fro m his family. He is accompanied by his girl friend, Shelly (Elizabeth Willis).

His family, including his father, Tilden, (J.C. Howry) and uncle, Bradley, (Hugh Thompson), prove to be a bizarre collection of individuals who barely know who he is. In trying to make sense of her boy friend's family, Shelly uncovers deeply buried secre ts that have destroyed these people's lives.

"It is a seemingly simple story, yet it resonates with a wide range of disturbing images and moments that examine the frayed edges and tears at the fabric of the traditional American family," Rossi said. "It is part mystery and part psychological thrille r, yet it also is at times disturbingly comic and entertaining.

"'Buried Child' engages the audience on almost every theatrical and emotional level," he added.

OSU faculty member William Earl is designer for the lights, sets and costumes of the play. Assisting Rossi in the direction are Juliet Miller, a senior from Sisters, and Justin Martin of Australia. Marianne Brown, a junior from Bend majoring in theater a rts, is production stage manager. The play contains language and subject matter that some viewers may find objectionable.

The performance on Friday, April 13, will be sign language-interpreted for the hearing impaired. For more information, call the University Theatre at 541-737-2853.

The Cast of "Buried Child"

  • BEAVERTON: John Nichols, a junior in liberal studies, portrays Vince; Philip Scott, a senior in computer science, portrays Dewis; Elizabeth Willis, a senior in theater arts, is Shelly.
  • CORVALLIS : J.C. Howry, a junior in speech communication, portrays Tilden; Jen Waters, a senior in theater arts, portrays Halie.
  • EUGENE: Aaron Windeler, a sophomore in philosophy, portrays Dodge. 
  • PRINEVILLE: Hugh Thompson, a senior in music education, portrays Bradley.

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Marion O. Rossi, 541-737-4917