Stone Soup Theater opened The God of Hell by Sam Shepard on Friday February 23, 2015. This politically inspired play does not disappoint if you are interested in a twist on Republicans.
Set in rural Wisconsin on a dairy farm, Frank and Emma, played by Edwin Scheibner and Maureen Miko respectively, are the average couple- isolated on the farm with only the plants and cows to tend to. Lonely Emma has taken to overwatering her houseplants. Frank is obsessed with his heifers and spends a bit too much time down in the barn with them. ” Isolation Breeds Insanity” is an underlying theme, one in which Miko exudes with her nervous ticks, twitches, and hand gestures.
Haynes portrayed by Keith Dahlgren, equally as nervous about being in the house as Emma is with having him there. Haynes is clearly hiding from a mysterious government agency, with timid mannerisms; he is walking on eggshells throughout most of the play.
With the entrance of Welch, Emma and Haynes’ anxiety kicks into high gear. Welch, the typical government agent, enters without invitation into Frank and Emma’s home. Conveniently while Frank is out with his heifers. Gianni Truzzi plays Welch in a red tie and black suit, his height being his only intimidating factor. Pushing his political paraphernalia as a front for his real mission, Welch is searching out Haynes and brainwashing Frank to join his cause, a cause that never clearly comes to light in the play.
Frank reappears in a similar suit and red tie, after Emma rings a bell- suggesting a farce of the Liberty Bell. Frank is undoubtedly under the influence of Welch. With a briefcase of money Frank has “sold them down the river” according to Emma. Welch enters leading Haynes around in a hood with a cord attached to his genitalia, reminiscent of media images of the U.S. torturing prisoners in Iraq. When the torture begins it seems like a page out of a Phillip K. Dick novel. Welch tortures Haynes to bring him back in to the government fold.
The culmination of the play is Frank and Haynes marching off stage in step together to their assumed demise. Emma rings the bell again, a bit to symbolize the struggle between the freedom we fight to have and the freedom we give up to government control.
The political connotations can leave the audience scratching their heads if they are not politically savvy. This play also contains mature content not meant for an audience of all ages.
The God Of Hell by Sam Shepard, Stone Soup Theatre, 4029 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103. Feb. 18- March14 Thurs-Sat 8pm. Sun 4pm. Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1054065 Info: http://www.stonesouptheatre.org/event/god-of-hell-by-sam-shepard/