A Lie of the Mind

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A Lie of the Mind
Written by Sam Shepard
Characters Baylor
Date premiered December 5, 1985
Place premiered Promenade Theater
New York City, New York
Original language English
Subject Two families torn apart by tragedy
Genre Drama

A Lie of the Mind is a play written by Sam Shepard, first staged at the off-Broadway Promenade Theater on 5 December 1985. The play was directed by Shepard himself with stars Harvey Keitel as Jake, Amanda Plummer as Beth, Aidan Quinn as Frankie, Geraldine Page as Lorraine, and Will Patton as Mike. The music was composed and played by the North Carolina bluegrass group the Red Clay Ramblers.

Some critics consider the play the conclusion of a quintet which includes Shepard's Family Trilogy: Curse of the Starving Class (1976), Buried Child (1979), and True West (1980), plus Fool for Love (1983).[1]

Plot synopsis[edit]

Told in three acts set in snowy Montana, the story alternates between two families after a severe incident of spousal abuse leaves all their lives altered until the final collision at an isolated cabin. The two families, one composed of Baylor, Meg, Beth, and Mike, the other composed of Lorraine, Sally, Frankie, and Jake are connected by the marriage of Jake and Beth, whose beating and subsequent hospitalization at the hands of Jake initiates the beginning of the play. Exploring family dysfunction and the nature of love, the play follows Jake as he searches for meaning after Beth, and her family, as they struggle with Beth's brain damage.[2]

Production history[edit]

A Lie of the Mind was first produced Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theatre on December 5, 1985, closing on June 1, 1986 after 186 performances.

The cast was as follows:[3]


The first major Off-Broadway revival of A Lie of the Mind was staged by the New Group at the Acorn Theatre.[4][5] Ethan Hawke directed the production with an ensemble cast featuring Keith Carradine (Baylor), Josh Hamilton (Frankie), Marin Ireland (Beth), Laurie Metcalf (Meg), Alessandro Nivola (Jake), Maggie Siff (Sally), Frank Whaley (Mike), and Karen Young (Lorraine; Sally in the 1985 production).[4][6] The show began previews on January 29, 2010, with a limited engagement from February 18 to March 20, 2010.[5] It was nominated for five Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Revival,[7] and two Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Director of a Play.[8] The cast was featured on The New Yorker's list of the Best Performers of 2010.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Roudané, Matthew (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521777667
  2. ^ PJ Butler (2003-09-21). "A Lie of the Mind: Shattered Parts Are Swept Away". TheaterScene.net. Retrieved 2008-09-11. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Gary M. Grant (2008). "A Lie of the Mind: Production notes". Bucknell University Theatre and Dance. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ a b Healy, Patrick (2010-01-27). "New Search for the Truth in ‘A Lie’". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  5. ^ a b Hernandez, Ernio (2010-01-29). "Carradine, Metcalf and Hamilton Lead Starry Cast of Shepard's Lie of the Mind Off-Broadway". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  6. ^ Brantley, Ben (2010-02-19). "Theatre Review - 'A Lie of the Mind' - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  7. ^ Healy, Patrick (2010-04-01). "Lucille Lortel Nominees Announced". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew (2010-05-03). "Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced; Ragtime and Scottsboro Top List". Playbill. Archived from the original on 6 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  9. ^ Als, Hilton (2010-12-17). "The Best Performers of 2010". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 

External links[edit]