“Buried Child” A Shocker at Shades Repertory, Haverstraw

Excellent cast presents high drama, directed by Sam Harps

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

Director Samuel Harps

The play “Buried Child,” playing at the Central Presbyterian Church in Haverstraw, is about a deeply disturbed and dysfunctional Chicago family with multiple dark secrets. Samuel Harps directs the play magnificently and the actors are on top of their game as they perform explosive scenes and tragedy to its fullest.

The story evolves around Grandpa Dodge (played by John R. Garland), who is couch-ridden, ornery and cranky and keeps a stash of whiskey hidden in the couch pillows.

The play opens with Dodge and his wife, Haile (played by Laurel Lettieri) bickering, eventually Haile leaves and their son, Tilden (played by Nick Byrne) enters with fresh corn, which he shucks and dumps on a sleeping Dodge.

Tilden is unstable, having just come back from living in New Mexico and does not yet have a job.

Later, Dodge and Haile’s other son, Bradley (played by Steven Andresen) enters dragging his prosthetic leg. This leg ends up being used as a weapon later in the play and is taken away.

Dodge and Haile’s grandson, Vince (played by Nick Pascarella) and his girlfriend, Shelly (played by Jessica Danahy) come by the house for a visit. Both Tilden and Bradley are attracted to Shelly, and make it clear. Eventually Tilden asking if he can smell and wear her coat. Meanwhile, Shelly seductively peels the pile of carrots.

Amidst this dysfunction and inappropriateness, Tilden lets out that Grandpa Dodge killed a baby many years ago. Eventually, Dodge admits that he did in fact kill a baby, but that it was because he was trying to protect his family from scandal. Haile had become pregnant, even though there was no way it was Dodge’s child, they had not slept together in more than six years.

The prosthetic leg is then used by Shelly in self-defense when Haile orders her to get out of the house.

And Vince, who is told by Dodge that he will inherit the house Dodge and Haile own, goes out to get some more whiskey for Dodge because Tilden had stolen Dodge’s whiskey. There is more violence as the siblings all end up intoxicated.

In the end, Father Dewis (played by Howard Weintraub) tries to help, but there’s little he can do and can’t console Haile; Vince goes berserk; Dodge dies of what appears to be a heart attack; and ultimately, Tilden comes in carrying a baby’s blanket revealing that Tilden is the one who fathered Haile’s child who was killed, thereby committing incest with his mother.

End of drama.

I rate it three out of four stars!