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A Lie of the Mind

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Dramatizes how individuals misperceive the world.


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Dramatizes how individuals misperceive the world.

30 review for A Lie of the Mind

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brixton

    On pg 38, Tonto meets Snoop-Dogg (please mentally add as many [sic]s as grammatically necessary): "You-- You a love. You-- You are only that. Only. You don' know. Only love. Good. You. Mother. You. Always love. Always. But he lies to me. Like I'm gone. Not here. Lies and tellz me iz for love. Iz not for love! Iz pride!" It is dialogue like this which contributed to me taking a full month to read something which, if seen in the theatre, would have played out in two hours. I must conclude that atte On pg 38, Tonto meets Snoop-Dogg (please mentally add as many [sic]s as grammatically necessary): "You-- You a love. You-- You are only that. Only. You don' know. Only love. Good. You. Mother. You. Always love. Always. But he lies to me. Like I'm gone. Not here. Lies and tellz me iz for love. Iz not for love! Iz pride!" It is dialogue like this which contributed to me taking a full month to read something which, if seen in the theatre, would have played out in two hours. I must conclude that attending a performance of this play would have felt like spending a full month in an uncomfortable seat. You know those times in a movie where something is supposed to be sooper-serious and you can tell they wanted you to be really moved by something an actor says, but instead it makes you burst out laughing in disbelief of its corny melodrama? This is that line, copied exactly as it appears on pg 21: "HEEZ MY HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART!!!" Yep, 2 capital E's, a capital Z, and no less than 16 capital A's (I counted-- twice). I wonder how long the author agonised over the potential dramatic differences between 15, 16, or 17 capital A's (or, hey, can we get some consistency here? Shouldn't "always" and "lies" in the passage above be spelled with Z's too?). And finally, during what is no doubt expected to be a significant symbolic gesture/event (I can tell, since it was lifted right out of Chekhov's The Seagull), the author counts heavily on his audience being as dain bramaged as his sexy-sexy, oh-but-she's-a-slut-too-so-let's-have-her-beaten-nearly-to-death-by-her-suffering-husband character Beth, when her brother Mike comes in and dumps a full back half of a buck on the living room floor-- an animal he shot just minutes before-- and says he doesn't need to chop it up into dinner any time soon because, "It's frozen solid. Won't thaw out for hours yet" (pg 61). Well dang, if it's cold enough outside to freeze a large living animal solid within minutes after its death, ya gotta wonder how any part of Mike himself made it back to the house intact enough to tell us about it. (And good luck to the props people who take work on this play. I imagine the full back half of a solidly frozen buck is mighty heavy and papier-mâché isn't going to cut it any more than Mike wants to.) Awful, stupid, and insulting to any degree of intelligence. Sam Shepard's two-time Oscar-winning wife, Jessica Lange, must have been giving Oscar-worthy performances the rest of us could not see every time she told him, "It's good, honey!" (or should that be, "IZ GOOD. HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNEE!!!"?)

  2. 5 out of 5

    mwpm mwpm

    A Lie of the Mind opens on both side of a phone conversation between Jake and Frankie. During the course of their phone conversation, we learn that Jake and Frankie are brothers, that Frankie has beaten his wife to death (or so he thinks), and that Frankie is trying to locate Jake before he does any more damage (to himself or someone else). Jake's wife, Beth, is not dead, but hospitalized with severe brain damage. She is joined by her brother, Mike, and later by their parents. Jake and Frankie ar A Lie of the Mind opens on both side of a phone conversation between Jake and Frankie. During the course of their phone conversation, we learn that Jake and Frankie are brothers, that Frankie has beaten his wife to death (or so he thinks), and that Frankie is trying to locate Jake before he does any more damage (to himself or someone else). Jake's wife, Beth, is not dead, but hospitalized with severe brain damage. She is joined by her brother, Mike, and later by their parents. Jake and Frankie are joined by their sister, Sally, and their mother. In fact, the attack has left both Jake and Beth helpless in their care of their families. Beth is brain damaged, reduced to varying states of coherence/incoherence. Jake is despondent, believing he has killed his wife. Admittedly, I take issue with the depiction of both Jake and Beth. I believe Jake the abusive husband, his over-the-top demeanor suiting his character, but I don't believe Jake the victim, acting erratically. What redeems his character is the suggestion that we're not supposed to believe Jake the victim. Sally, his sister, suggests that he is pretending, having seen it all before. With Beth, Shepard's depiction of a woman with brain damage is constantly skirting bad taste. Her varying coherence/incoherence, that sometimes descends into "savage" screaming, is evocative of a tired stereotype, the hysterical woman. This is corroborated by her family history: her grandmother was mentally ill, and later her mother shows signs of mental illness. There may be believable aspects to her character, specifically during her recovery. But overall, Shepard's portrayal of Beth's mental illness is problematic. The best argument in favour of Shepard's portrayal of Beth (and her mental illness) is that Shepard is less concerned with plausibility, and more concerned with an archetypal approach to Beth's character. Just as she has been stripped down to her base/raw attributes, so too she is able to strip down other characters. "This - this is my father. He's given up love. Love is dead for him. My mother is dead for him. Things live for him to be killed. Only death counts for him. Nothing else. This - This - This is me. This is me now. The way I am. Now. This. All. Different. I- I live inside this. Remember. Remembering. You. You - were one. I know you. I know - love. I know what love is. I can never forget. That. Never." (Act 2, Scene 1) The play is commonly criticized (on Goodreads) for its abject characters. Indeed, they are abject. But I consider this to be one of the play's strengths. Readers familiar with Sam Shepard will recognize these characters. Having read a number of Shepard's plays, it occurs to me that his characters are drawn from the same source. They are derivative not of cliché/charicateur, but of archetype. The brothers Jake and Frankie resemble the brothers of True West , one hopelessly lost and the other with his feet seemingly on the ground (although his footing will surely be tested). The most prominent of Shepard's archetypes may be the dysfunctional family. I doubt I've read a Shepard play with a functional family. (You may be inclined to ask: "What is a functional family?" A valid question. Suffice to say that Shepard's families are far from functional.) Shepard's outlook on the family unit recalls the opening lines of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina : "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Although we encounter similar dynamics (rivalry, spite, abandonment, etc...), Shepard's unhappy families are uniquely unhappy. Particularly in the case of A Lie of the Mind, comparable to the families of Buried Child and Curse of the Starving Class .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    Love, honesty and pain, but not hollywood cliche at all! Reading what so ever written by Shepard means going through a shortened social history of America after ww II, and up till the end of 20.century. Plots are so simple and dialogues are not very much sophisticated. Maybe some of works by Shepard are not as interesting as the others, but for those whom are interested in sociology, and drama as writing-art, will enjoy reading or watching works by Shepard. Reading simple and plain plays by Shep Love, honesty and pain, but not hollywood cliche at all! Reading what so ever written by Shepard means going through a shortened social history of America after ww II, and up till the end of 20.century. Plots are so simple and dialogues are not very much sophisticated. Maybe some of works by Shepard are not as interesting as the others, but for those whom are interested in sociology, and drama as writing-art, will enjoy reading or watching works by Shepard. Reading simple and plain plays by Shepard gives you dare to sit and write about whatsoever plot you have in your mind. Many of his plays are so easy, but honest, fluent and great as well. After watching Paris, Texas by Wenders, I believe Wenders shots matches with Shepard’s atmosphere and dialogues. ”Few American playwrights have exerted as much influence on the contemporary stage as Sam Shepard. His plays are performed on and off Broadway and in all the major regional American theatres. They are also widely performed and studied in Europe, finding both a popular and a scholarly audience" . با وجودی که سام شپارد، موضوعاتی گاه پیش پا افتاده را با زبانی ساده و در عین حال بصورتی حیرت انگیز طرح می کند، نمی دانم چرا تا کنون به فارسی برگردانده نشده اند، یا احتمالن من ندیده ام. خواندن شپارد اگر هیچ نباشد، دست کم درس بزرگی ست برای آنها که می خواهند بنویسند، و آنها که سال هاست می نویسند اما آن چنان سنگین که انگار "وزنه برداری" می کنند! آثار سام شپارد به نمایش نامه ها و داستان های کوتاهش محدود نمی شوند. او در زمینه ی موسیقی جاز و پاپ هم کار کرده و برخی از سروده هایش برای خوانندگان صاحب نام، مشهور است. سام شپارد بازیگر سینما و تیاتر هم هست و در برخی از فیلم ها همچون "فرانسیس" یا "دیگه نیا دم در" (ویم وندرس) با همسرش "جسیکا لنگ" همبازی بوده است. سام شپارد هم چنین نقد تیاتر و سینما هم می نویسد و برخی از نقدهایش در مجلات مشهور انگلیسی زبان منتشر می شوند. "وقفه در فکر" از نمایش نامه های معروف سام شپارد است که تقریبن همه جای جهان به روی صحنه رفته است

  4. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    This is one of my favorite Shepard plays, from 1986. It has those signature things we love about Shepard: intense, desperate characters who experience the pain of love; brilliant, honest, raw, fluent dialogue; incredibly eccentric behavior that still seems plausible; and a sense of mystery or underlying menace.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Justin Hudnall

    Out and out my favorite Shepard play, and I'm a big Shepard fan. He should be credited for coining the phrase, "lie of the mind," as this is the best work I've read to capture the act commited by reality changers, the willful blindness to the undesirable. Out and out my favorite Shepard play, and I'm a big Shepard fan. He should be credited for coining the phrase, "lie of the mind," as this is the best work I've read to capture the act commited by reality changers, the willful blindness to the undesirable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mel Luna

    These people are so awful that I actually felt physically sick after reading this play. That said, it has some wonderful lines.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luke Reynolds

    The first and third acts were a hot mess, so it's really the second act that's carrying the brunt of my liking for this play here. I don't find Shepard's absurd sense of humor particularly funny, especially when it involves men being treated like animals and a guy jumping on the soup-soaked sheets of his bed while grunting like an animal (okay, maybe the animal-like treatment makes more sense now that I've typed that). As such, the comedic breaks in this drama were ill-timed and somewhat inappro The first and third acts were a hot mess, so it's really the second act that's carrying the brunt of my liking for this play here. I don't find Shepard's absurd sense of humor particularly funny, especially when it involves men being treated like animals and a guy jumping on the soup-soaked sheets of his bed while grunting like an animal (okay, maybe the animal-like treatment makes more sense now that I've typed that). As such, the comedic breaks in this drama were ill-timed and somewhat inappropriate. But I really liked the hypocritical ironies of all the characters, their misery and forgetfulness, as they tried to navigate the collapse of an abusive marriage they didn't really remember. Beth and Jake's psyches are both shattered, Jake reeling from the trauma he's inflicted on his wife and Beth facing brain damage from that trauma. Both believe they're being hurt by their relatives, even though Jake's mother suffocates him with love and Beth's parents have contrasting ideas on how to care for their daughter. Meanwhile, Beth's brother and Jake's siblings approach their own strategies, Mike's fierce protectiveness taking a sadistic turn and Sally and Frankie trying their best to understand their brother. The latter ends up trying to appease to Beth, which turns into an awkward relationship Frankie isn't sure he wants. But Beth thinks it can fix the world. Aside from the exceptionally strong second act, Shepard's writing remains strong and realistic, crisp with its diction and characterization. But there are once again events meant to be comedic that are so absurd and out there that I didn't enjoy. The first act was a long climb to a great peak, and then the decline was curvy and lost in snow flurries. But this was still a good play despite its set-up. I'm not sure if it was as smooth as Curse of the Starving Class when it came to thematic evolution and consistent characterization, but this was still fair in its own right.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    I am seriously the most unlucky person when it comes to reviewing this play.  As might be fairly obvious, I am a frequent reader and reviewer of drama [1].  It so happens that I picked up this book to read and review yesterday from the library, and it so happens that after finishing reading the book during my lunch break at work but before writing it, I find out that the actor/playwright died today.  It is said that it is rude to speak ill of the dead, but in the interest of honesty I'm going to I am seriously the most unlucky person when it comes to reviewing this play.  As might be fairly obvious, I am a frequent reader and reviewer of drama [1].  It so happens that I picked up this book to read and review yesterday from the library, and it so happens that after finishing reading the book during my lunch break at work but before writing it, I find out that the actor/playwright died today.  It is said that it is rude to speak ill of the dead, but in the interest of honesty I'm going to have to bring the hammer down on this play.  This is the sort of play that gives voice to the contempt that people from New York and Los Angeles have for the country in between.  This is a play about us by them, and it is very obvious that the author has little sympathy for the people here that he mocks and insults.  Contempt does not wear well on a playwright, as this play is not a good one largely because one can tell that the author has little or no sympathy for most of the people in the play. This is a three act play about people in two dysfunctional families joined by the marriage of the son of one family with the daughter of another.  Jake is a troubled man who nearly beat his estranged wife, an actress unfaithful to him at least emotionally, to death out of jealousy.  His wife, Beth, is not entirely of sound mind and confuses her brother-in-law for her husband, the brother-in-law himself being stuck at the family's house because he is shot by Beth's father who mistakes him for a buck.  Meanwhile, Mike, Beth's brother, is threatening harm to anyone in Jake's family.  It's not as if Jake's family is any less dysfunctional, with a possessive mother who turns arsonist and a less favored daughter who Jake's mother blames for his departure to go back to his wife, which ends in failure in Act 3.  While this is the sort of play that gives actors the chance to be emotionally expressive, there is very little that is redeeming about the play as a whole.  The most sympathetic characters here are a brain-damaged adulteress and her kind adulterous brother-in-law.  Almost everyone else here is portrayed in the most repellent way possible for a play like this. Ultimately, this is a play that has contempt for Middle America and people of family values and rural backgrounds.  It portrays families as fostering co-dependency, and has nearly 100 pages of dialogue in which hardly anyone is listening to what anyone else is saying.  There is yelling and screaming, a house is burned down, people are shot and beat up and treated like horses, but there is precious little in the way of genuine communication.  The people in this play don't care what anyone else thinks or feels.  They are acting out of their own neuroses, their own drives, their own longings, their own frustrations, and simply don't care about anyone else.  The author gives very little reasons why any of us should care about the people in this play, especially when he seems to be insulting anyone who is from a background in rural America between the two coasts with the poor choice of quotes he makes about farmers and people in the country by H.L. Mencken.  If there is a lie in the mind, it is in the mind of the playwright, in this libelous portrayal of American life. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan Huggins

    I have no idea what just happened. I just know it's about liberation, and complicated families, and forgiveness. It's a beautiful play, but I am totally confused. Hopefully, I'll be able to clarify it soon. Definitely read it, but be prepared to think hard. It's a little absurd, and I think very metaphorical. Quite a powerful play, but I'm not sure how things are resolved for anyone, except Jake and Beth seem to... reconcile somehow. Interesting. And very, very beautiful. I have no idea what just happened. I just know it's about liberation, and complicated families, and forgiveness. It's a beautiful play, but I am totally confused. Hopefully, I'll be able to clarify it soon. Definitely read it, but be prepared to think hard. It's a little absurd, and I think very metaphorical. Quite a powerful play, but I'm not sure how things are resolved for anyone, except Jake and Beth seem to... reconcile somehow. Interesting. And very, very beautiful.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Korey

    Wasnt the biggest fan of this play. Perhaps it hut abut too close to home? Perhaps its because none of the characters changed? Its a great play that gives insight into the trap of family and unhappiness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    Compelling and super depressing. The whole play is about the addiction to attachment and avoidance people have when they haven't resolved their childhood demons. Sad and imaginative. Shepard is a genius. Compelling and super depressing. The whole play is about the addiction to attachment and avoidance people have when they haven't resolved their childhood demons. Sad and imaginative. Shepard is a genius.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Timm

    Maybe it will grow on me, It was enjoyable but just not as good as True West

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diana Stevan

    A shocking portrayal of a family.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I am going to see my son Nate play the part of "Frankie" in November! So, I thought I would read the play ahead of time. It's a very absorbing & tragic tale well-told. I am going to see my son Nate play the part of "Frankie" in November! So, I thought I would read the play ahead of time. It's a very absorbing & tragic tale well-told.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I loved the dysfunctional families laid bare throughout this story. The use of empty space between different locations was visually engaging even though I only read the play.

  16. 4 out of 5

    amber

    This is the first play I have ever liked more on paper then on stage. On stage it is too over the top. When you're just reading the words it seems more down to earth. This is the first play I have ever liked more on paper then on stage. On stage it is too over the top. When you're just reading the words it seems more down to earth.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Fantastically dark play that is an amazing commentary on domestic abuse. Absolutely loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Headstrong extrovert overly dramatic American dialogue and acting, lacking finesse or charm.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shaan

    A Lie of the Mind A Lie of the Mind

  20. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    Started out good, but fizzled out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fauzia Lakh

    Dark, different, disturbed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mosa Bolas

    It is a great play of sam shepard

  23. 5 out of 5

    Litbitch

    Some college friends and I have been reading scripts together over Zoom since COVID hit. (We all attended acting school together.) Even though I worshiped Sam Shepard and carry a lifelong crush on him (my life, apparently, since he cut out of the agreement), I really didn't remember reading this. I know I saw it at Steppenwolf when I was a teenager, but the only lasting detail was an image of a woman in bandages. If you accept that this is unapologetically American, Western, and White (that last Some college friends and I have been reading scripts together over Zoom since COVID hit. (We all attended acting school together.) Even though I worshiped Sam Shepard and carry a lifelong crush on him (my life, apparently, since he cut out of the agreement), I really didn't remember reading this. I know I saw it at Steppenwolf when I was a teenager, but the only lasting detail was an image of a woman in bandages. If you accept that this is unapologetically American, Western, and White (that last part maybe more ignorant than arrogant), and accept those parameters as perfectly legitimate in a world where other voices are also both elevated and heard (which I do, even if we're not there yet), Shepard totally holds up. And even though people emphasize the cowboy tinge present in so much of his work, I don't find him sexist. I'm sure a lot of people would object that there must be sexism in a play where a woman is beaten up, but that's not the way I see art. The mere presence of something is not an endorsement or apologia unless the author makes it one. Just because Shepard writes mostly about the inner lives of men doesn't mean he doesn't respect the inner lives of women. I mean, he's not Mamet. I realize I've said precious little about the play itself, but it really doesn't take much longer to read a play than a review of it, so just pick it up (off your stoop after you order it online) if you want dark, fucked up family dynamics between unhappy people in a harsh world. Probably in large part due to the talent of my friends, but I loved it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This one took a while to get its hooks in me, but once it did I couldn't put it down. Starts off with the a prolonged set-up that's probably the weakest extended stretch of material Shepard's produced during this period of his career, but it all ends up paying off exceptionally well as the play continues. It's fascinating to imagine seeing this with the original cast with whom it premiered. Harvey Keitel, Will Patton, and Amanda Plummer seem especially well cast, and James Gammon is about as perf This one took a while to get its hooks in me, but once it did I couldn't put it down. Starts off with the a prolonged set-up that's probably the weakest extended stretch of material Shepard's produced during this period of his career, but it all ends up paying off exceptionally well as the play continues. It's fascinating to imagine seeing this with the original cast with whom it premiered. Harvey Keitel, Will Patton, and Amanda Plummer seem especially well cast, and James Gammon is about as perfect a choice for Baylor as I could imagine. There's a reason this hasn't received quite the acclaim of many of the plays Shepard produced immediately prior - it's by turns more conventional and more dramatically abrasive (one plot development is downright Game of Thrones-ian in its shatteringly grim implications) - but it's every bit as thought-provoking and fully-developed as, say, "True West" in its own way. I also appreciate that Shepard is so evidently trying to expand outside of his comfort zone here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I've seen select scenes from this play before and the full thing wasn't what I expected, but in a good way. This play explores family dynamics, love, heartbreak and mental illness amongst other things in a very blunt and human way. There is a lot of potential to bring out these ideas in different ways in a performance of this play. Even though the plot is set in stone, there is plenty of room for movement in terms of staging and the style of the performance. I read this in preparation to play the I've seen select scenes from this play before and the full thing wasn't what I expected, but in a good way. This play explores family dynamics, love, heartbreak and mental illness amongst other things in a very blunt and human way. There is a lot of potential to bring out these ideas in different ways in a performance of this play. Even though the plot is set in stone, there is plenty of room for movement in terms of staging and the style of the performance. I read this in preparation to play the character of Sally in a few months time. What I found interesting about the play is how much is open to interpretation in terms of personality. Yes we see these people in their family homes, at their most honest and vulnerable, but there are always sides of you that your family can't or won't see. This is something that Sam Shepard leaves up to the actor and I'm very excited to explore this in rehearsal.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rae Niwa

    An incredible play written by none another than the visionary Sam Shepard, who crafts narratives that illustrate the world of the unmentioned, the hidden moments of the human condition. The play is set in winter and moves through the dynamics of two families bound by marriage. It is a tragic and bleak look into the compounding aspects of abuse, pain, longing and leaving. There is something very quiet yet haunting about this piece of work. Shepard graciously gives us a window of the morose aspect An incredible play written by none another than the visionary Sam Shepard, who crafts narratives that illustrate the world of the unmentioned, the hidden moments of the human condition. The play is set in winter and moves through the dynamics of two families bound by marriage. It is a tragic and bleak look into the compounding aspects of abuse, pain, longing and leaving. There is something very quiet yet haunting about this piece of work. Shepard graciously gives us a window of the morose aspects of how broken love has an underling sovereignty of hope and the complex layering of how we are and how we come to be.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Richardson

    1.5/5 stars; DNF'd at page 70 If it weren't for my performing arts class, I wouldn't have even known this play exist let alone have read it. I was assigned a scene with a partner (where I play Sally and he plays Jake) and in order to have better context, my professor suggested we read the whole play. Well, that was my intention but the further I got through it, the less I wanted to read it. Combined with unlikable characters and overwhelming melodramatic tone, the play's also not that interesting 1.5/5 stars; DNF'd at page 70 If it weren't for my performing arts class, I wouldn't have even known this play exist let alone have read it. I was assigned a scene with a partner (where I play Sally and he plays Jake) and in order to have better context, my professor suggested we read the whole play. Well, that was my intention but the further I got through it, the less I wanted to read it. Combined with unlikable characters and overwhelming melodramatic tone, the play's also not that interesting and I don't know if seeing it performed would change that for me. February is not shaping up to be a good reading month for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brian McCann

    I think this is a typical play of the decade it was written in: lots of drama, but not really about anything save the de-escalation of America. Star-studded in its original cast, but the WHY of this play is overshadowed by its extreme cast of characters. But maybe I just missed it...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Duran

    Good story - quite abstract and open ended. It is a play so doesn’t read like a novel and that contributes to the ambiguities. If you like “Naked Lunch” or the Netflix movie “I’m thinking of ending things” this will be right up your alley!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    classic shepard unhinged family drama

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