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What Is the Story of Heartless?
Set in an eerie home that overlooks Los Angeles, Heartless is the story of Roscoe, a married professor who is staying with his friend (and presumably, lover) Sally and her family. As Sally and Roscoe try to film a documentary about Roscoe’s life, they are constantly interrupted by members of the strange household. There’s Sally’s sister Lucy, an overburdened caretaker who becomes increasingly tired of her responsibilities, Sally’s mother Mable, whose arms and legs are purportedly paralyzed, and Elizabeth, Mable’s dutiful nurse who doesn’t speak—or does she? As the inner turmoil of each family member reaches a fever pitch, Roscoe must decide whether to try to make sense of the strange secrets he has learned or leave the mysterious house forever.
Signature Theatre’s world premiere is capably acted and nicely designed under Daniel Aukin’s direction.Review by Michael Sommers from New Jersey Newsroom
…For Shepard aficionados, “Heartless” offers a fascinating focus on a figure that this restlessly imaginative author—in contrast to other great American playwrights, like Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill— usually doesn’t pay much attention to: good old long-suffering, child-shaping, hearth-keeping Mom.Review by Ben Brantley from The New York Times
What Is Heartless Like?
Featuring lush, often disturbing imagery, Sam Shepard’s Heartless is a feast for the senses. Poetic dialogue adds to the dreamlike quality of the production, and the stylized set, costumes, lighting and sound create an otherworldly atmosphere. With a dense plot full of twists, turns and secrets, the literal events in Heartless are left up to the audience’s interpretation. Director Daniel Aukin’s cinematic approach to Shepard’s world premiere is haunting and moving.
Is Heartless Good For Kids?
No. Heartless features disturbing and violent imagery, nudity, simulated sex acts and adult language. Leave all children—including young teens—at home. The production is the equivalent of an R-rated movie.