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Buried Child

Members say: Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing
73
Critics
68
38 reviews
Members
75
101 reviews
 

The New Group presents Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an American family struggling to overcome the many obstacles in the way of the American Dream. Starring Ed Harris.

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Dodge and Halie are barely hanging on to their farmland and their sanity while looking after their two wayward grown sons. When their grandson Vince arrives with his girlfriend, no one seems to recognize him, and confusion abounds. As Vince tries to make sense of the chaos, the rest of the family dances around a deep, dark secret. This poetic and comedic take on the American family drama pulls apart the threadbare deluded visions of our families and our homes.

 

Cast & Creatives (14)



Reviews (139)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
68
Avg Score

70
The New York Times

"Mr. Elliott and his starry cast give us a thoughtful, lucid presentation that’s absorbing enough to remind us of why it’s always worth revisiting…The greatest strength and weakness of Mr. Elliott’s production lie in its determined prosiness...It wants us to listen to Mr. Shepard’s characters as if they truly were members of our own family, so that they can sucker-punch us when we feel most unguarded...It muffles its climactic shocks." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"This is a fascinating production that will haunt you for days…Director Scott Elliott is especially skilled at preserving a dreamlike tone, endowing the visual elements with a vibrancy that is a shade too vivid to be real…Ironically, Dodge comes off as the most authentically human of the bunch. Harris plays him with a fine mixture of grit and pharmaceutical loopiness." Full Review

80
New York Post

“The main reason to see ‘Buried Child’ is Harris and Madigan. Harris spends most of the show on a threadbare couch and somehow manages to be charismatic anyway…Some of the supporting roles are a little wonkier. Farmiga gives a mannered performance but it reinforces her stranger-in-a-strange-land status and she makes it work for her.” Full Review

75
BroadwayWorld

"With its social commentary more of museum quality in 2016, audiences today may grow impatient with the play's ambiguous plotting. But there's something to be said for a fine museum display, and director Scott Elliott's solid production for The New Group is good for some sick laughs and some mildly rebellious symbolism." Full Review

65
Variety

"Shepard’s theatrical idiom is stark poetic realism that gradually gives way to surreal lunacy...Shepard’s idiosyncratic style is not for the faint of heart, as this tentative production illustrates. In general, the actors seem all too aware that they’re acting in a seminal 20th century work about the collapse of an agrarian economy, the breakdown of the family and the death of the American Dream. They should keep a closer eye on Harris, " Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"Directed by Scott Elliott and anchored by a deeply textured yet effortless performance by Ed Harris, the revival doesn’t strain for shock, emphasizing ordinary rather than grotesque aspects of its characters’ lives...The ensemble is packed with veteran talent...While this may not be the finest 'Buried Child' you’ll see, the play only comes around every 20 years, and it’s worth a homecoming." Full Review

35
The Hollywood Reporter

"What once seemed so provocative, so daring in its assault on the American family and society in general, now comes across as windy and pretentious…For 'Buried Child' to have the desired impact, it must be presented with a bracing theatricality that this tame production never musters. Director Scott Elliott gives the work a naturalistic treatment that only emphasizes its strained aspects...The performances are somewhat disappointing as well." Full Review

45
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Unfortunately, and despite two excellent performances, neither story seems terribly urgent in the New Group’s limp revival...Ed Harris, all gaunt charisma, brings specificity and gravity to a role that can sometimes seem merely symbolic…And as Halie, Dodge’s wife, Amy Madigan imbues that chatterbox harridan with an angry dignity that helps balance the tale even if it does not always seem authorized…Once we get past Dodge and Halie, though, the production starts to wobble." Full Review

75
Cultural Weekly

"Director Scott Elliott emphasizes the dark humor so that the grim revelations are more startling…Ed Harris’s Dodge dominates the action, a weakened lion growling with an echo of diminished power and furious at his weakness…Paul Sparks is heartbreaking as the diminished Tilden...As Vince and Shelly, Nat Wolff and Taissa Farming, young actors with mostly film and TV credits, fail to plumb the depths of Shepard’s dark vision." Full Review

35
Lighting & Sound America

"Before the production has passed the half-hour mark, it becomes apparent that something is critically, possibly fatally, off. If Elliott's company has a pretty firm grip on the play's humor, they are fairly hopeless at conjuring the menace, the all-devouring rage that also lurks inside Shepard's characters...This production fitfully captures the bleak humor in Shepard's dialogue, the darker notes are left mostly unstruck." Full Review

35
The Huffington Post

“Imagination is mostly lacking in a revival by the New Group and directed by Scott Elliott that feels moored to the ground…You never really care. Wolff and Farmiga are particularly adrift…The miracle is that throughout it all, Harris is magnetic. I'll need to wait for another production to get a better sense of the potential of ‘Buried Child’. But for Harris, no further proof is needed.” Full Review

55
Theatre's Leiter Side

"This is a play in which a very special atmosphere must prevail but, apart from Mr. Harris’s vivid performance...the production fails to resonate...Straightforward naturalism dominates, very little in Mr. Elliott’s staging...suggesting Shepard’s surrealistic underbelly. Although written in three acts, the play is performed for an intermissionless hour and 50 minutes, which only increases the feeling of drudgery. And, despite scattered laughs, the play’s rich vein of humor is barely evident." Full Review

80
AM New York

"Some of its shock value has worn off, but 'Buried Child' remains a gritty, mysterious, often engrossing portrait of domestic life gone to hell, as demonstrated by Scott Elliott’s well-acted revival...The production’s intimacy, intense physicality and seamless flow keep it vivid and visceral, even when the dialogue gets slow or confounding twists pop up...Harris is especially absorbing as a father who is essentially a shadow of his former self." Full Review

90
Talkin' Broadway

"'Buried Child' retains the ability to shock and stun…Although he could at times sharpen up the pacing just a bit, Elliott has delivered one of his best directing jobs in years with this production. Yes, he has done a masterful job of establishing and maintaining atmosphere, which remains consistent in its innate quality even as it grows, expands, and suffocates...He has guided nearly every actor into being both an integral part of the action and unmistakable individual." Full Review

90
Front Row Center

"The New Group does Shepard proud with this deep, dark revival, led by Ed Harris who turns in a masterful and rugged performance…The choice to use inexperienced actors here is a gamble that pays off, with their nervous, awkward energy creating just the right dramatic tension...Rhythm can be everything in a play that twists and warps as much as this one. Happily, director Scott Elliott not only nails the pacing, he flaunts it."” Full Review

75
New York Daily News

"Harris’ unforced and potent performance in the New Group’s revival makes this engaging but unevenly acted production worthwhile...Cast against type by director Scott Elliott, 'Mad Man' alum Sommer effectively taps his dark side as Bradley. Sparks, as always, is magnetic. Madigan and Farmiga need to dig deeper to make their characters less one-note. 'Buried Child' isn’t exactly subtle but it still grabs and sends shivers." Full Review

20
Deadline

"A fine but wayward cast led by Ed Harris and Amy Madigan makes an almost unwatchable mess of Sam Shepard’s ferocious drama 'Buried Child'...'Buried Child' is a family melodrama in which an American dream — of abundance, familial love — are subsumed in a putrifying reality that can only pass down from one generation to the next. All sense of this is absent from Elliott’s production, which speeds by in a single act as if to caution us against thinking too hard about how clueless it is." Full Review

80
CurtainUp

"'Buried Child' is still a gripping gothic tale — a demanding theatrical experience since it leaves the audience to figure out its many ambiguities…Harris is a fierce, seething central presence throughout. That's not to say that the other cast members don't also contribute mightily to enriching the eerie family portrait...Though Shepard rewrote the play in 1996 to intensify its humor, he never changed its raggedy often mystifying dramaturgy." Full Review

80
Theatre Reviews Limited

“Director Scott Elliott has wisely compressed the three acts of ‘Buried Child’ into a seamless and undisturbed 110 minutes…The ensemble cast, except for Harris’ compelling portrayal of Dodge, seems not yet in full connection to their characters…It is Ed Harris’ Dodge that carries 'Buried Child' from beginning to end. Watching him on stage is a sheer delight...Kudos to the New Group for bringing this iconic play back home.” Full Review

40
Newsday

"Despite the insightful, ever-challenging presence of Ed Harris and Amy Madigan as the bedridden drunken Dodge and his pious, hypocritical wife, Halie, director Scott Elliott’s revival has a matter-of-factness that undercuts both the mythic and Gothic delights of the dark tragicomedy…Shepard says he wanted the play 'to destroy the idea of the American family drama.' 'Buried Child' still has the power to do that, but it needs a sharper, heavier mallet than it gets here." Full Review

75
The Wrap

"Shepard’s gift for language is captured in the play’s opening scene with the pitch-perfect performances of its two lead actors…Under Scott Elliott’s otherwise flawless direction, 'Buried Child' could use an intermission after Shelly’s violation instead of being performed straight through. The other much larger problem is Farmiga’s performance...Her staccato, perky delivery is irritating when we first meet her. It’s all wrong later, when she’s meant to be seen as a civilizing force."" Full Review

35
NorthJersey.com

"Sam Shepard's 'Buried Child' can be played for humor or for horror – or, best option of all, for both. Unfortunately, the soggy revival by the New Group that opened Wednesday night doesn't have enough of either quality to make for a very satisfying evening...When the big revelation of the family secret comes at the end, it's intellectually shocking but dramatically inert. With ineffective buildup, there's no payoff." Full Review

90
CitiTour

"There was something both unusually profound and inexorably sad in this depiction of a Midwest clan whose aspirations for success, never mind, normalcy have completely evaporated, and those qualities still remain staunchly at the forefront of Scott Elliott’s mostly stunning revival...We can only be grateful that The New Group has not just dug up 'Buried Child' but resurrected it so beautifully." Full Review

80
The Associated Press

"Shepard's cleverly crafted and layered drama pits three generations of a shattered, self-destructive Midwestern farm family against one another…Ed Harris is sublimely cantankerous and engrossing to watch as Dodge, the dying, couch-ridden patriarch…Amy Madigan is restrained, taut perfection as Halie." Full Review

90
Financial Times (UK)

"Shepard’s achievement is to have invested realist American dramaturgy with the spirit of late-European modernism...The resulting work is at once timeless and grounded in its 1970s setting. Under Scott Elliott’s unobtrusive yet assured direction the performances are all first-class...The final scenes sacrifice some of the first two acts’ enigmatic power, but the play concludes with an image as harrowingly iconic as Sissy Spacek’s blood-spattered Carrie." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
75
Avg Score

70
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Great writing, Slow

See it if you are a fan of classic "American Theatre" and want to see some strong acting. Ed Harris was in his character 30 minutes before the show.

Don't see it if dysfunctional family disturb you. And I left with so much confusion because of the lack of explanation for the character development.

82
Epic, Resonant, Plain

See it if you want to see masterful contributions from many in the cast, especially Ed Harris and Amy Madigan.

Don't see it if you've done the Sam Shepard route.

78
Profound, Riveting

See it if You like Sam Sheppard. The acting is good and the story is messed up which I like.

Don't see it if you don't like Sam S. You either like his stuff or you don't

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Deep

See it if you like Sam Shephard's darkness

Don't see it if you are looking for an uplifting story.

71
Edgy, Intense, Quirky, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You're a big Ed Harris fan and want to see him at the top of his game.

Don't see it if You generally dislike Sam Shepard plays.... This won't help.

92
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Must see, Riveting

See it if Although some of the actors were not as good as I would have liked, most were wonderful. It was very intense, making one teary eyed.

Don't see it if If you don't like intense drama.

75
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you endured Bruce Willis in Misery - Ed Harris gives a master class here in how to act well when your character is mostly unable to move.

Don't see it if you lack patience...the pace is slow.

80
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you love plays with an ensemble cast that melds well. Each of these actors carries their own weight and plays off each other intensely.

Don't see it if you're looking for a light, fluffy play. Serious subject matter with moments of dark humor. Shocker at the end.

75
Funny, Ambitious, Great acting, Quirky, Dated

See it if You admire Shepherd's absurdist side. This one of his more accessable plays, at times appallingly funny.Maybe not as shocking as it was once

Don't see it if Albee's dead or missing children have exhausted this particular trope for you. If you don't admire Ed Harris's prodigious talent

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you want to see some really fine acting in a solid revival of one of Sam Shepard's best plays.

Don't see it if you are squeamish and/or prefer your family dramas to be conventional.

60
Disappointing, Slow, Dated

See it if You want to add to your Sam Shepard portfolio. Also, if you want to see a play that won the Pulitzer (albeit in 1979).

Don't see it if you like topical plays that still resonate today.

95
Original, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You are a Sam Shepard fan, love great acting, emotional involvement, story of human involvement and frailties.

Don't see it if You do not like to think.

95
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You want to see a great Sam Shepard play. Terrific acting.

Don't see it if N/A

76
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Riveting, Dated

See it if Typical Sam Shepherd drama. Great acting .

Don't see it if Hate family drama and Sam Shepherd.

69
Dark, Disappointing, Well-written

See it if you did not see the original production and you like dark drama, Sam Shepard plays deliver but for me, not this production.

Don't see it if you do not like the dark and quirky style of Sam Shepard plays,

82
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a great collaboration between a talented set of actors and creative team.

Don't see it if you cringe at uncomfortable moments and want something more fast-paced.

81
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Great staging

See it if you want to see a great production of a very archetypal Sam Shepard play.

Don't see it if you can't sit still for the two-hour running time or don't want to be made to think.

75
Original, Quirky, Relevant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Watching a rural family in demise hunt for liquor and gather corn will remind you our collective linage is something we have to face.

Don't see it if You know Sheppard's mysterious plays aren't well served with flat realism. The cast is accomplished but Sam's wild sensibility is missing.

76
Edgy, Profound, Great writing, Confusing, Slow

See it if you're a fan of shows that really make you think. The show puts the weight on the audience--you have to figure it out yourself

Don't see it if you need a show that clearly tells you what's happening

75
Depressing, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Disturbing

See it if you like dramas about dysfunctional families or just want to catch a Pulitzer Prize winner you've never seen.

Don't see it if you prefer light-hearted shows -- this one is quite the opposite.

83
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if You want to see a classic play being done in a classic way

Don't see it if You can't sit thru 2 hours of a show with no intermission

51
Disappointing, Slow, Dated

See it if This was a disappointing revival. Taissa Farmiga is too green for the part. The Broadway revival of 1996 or 97 was far superior.

Don't see it if You saw the 1996 or 97 Broadway revival.

80
Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if Ed Harris gives an amazing performance. All but one actor was outstanding. Why a stage debut for one in professional show? Bad casting

Don't see it if You are not familiar with Sam Shepard and his style of writing.

70
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Slow

See it if you love Ed Harris. He is amazing. This is not one of Shepard's better plays. The play is self-indulgent and the direction is uneven.

Don't see it if you are sleepy. If you are...the constant rain soundscape will put you under.

70
Great acting, Intense, Confusing

See it if you like Sam Shepard's work. And if you want to experience the great Ed Harris live on stage. It's uneven as a whole - but still worthwhile.

Don't see it if you don't like to think. Or if you don't want to go to dark places. It's a disturbing story - and it isn't always clear.