Bad Stars True West

Amanda Horowitz

July 13–July 16, 2023

An evening-length performance written & directed by Amanda Horowitz
Performed by Jess Barbagallo, Sophia Cleary, and Arne Gjelten
With Beaux Mendes as the “plein-air painter”
Purchase tickets here

Bad Stars True West is an experimental adaptation of Sam Shepard’s play True West. Each iteration of this project is extensively rewritten and transformed in response to the new location. For the month of June, the cast will be rehearsing at STARS, with public performances occurring July 13, 14, 15 & 16 at 8pm.

(Script excerpt, written by Amanda Horowitz)

Note on Performance 

This play surfs off the voice and energy of Sam Shepard’s play, True West. It allows itself to become possessed by something tonal. It’s not a deconstruction of the original text, but rather a burrowing in and worming around, getting a bit lost in the sloppiness. The idea of riding a Shepard-wave comes to mind:  riding out the excess of the original play’s weirdness, its heightened performativity, its over-the-top-ness – as a performer, what happens when you get to this excessive place? Where else can you go? What other waves can you travel? 

The play’s sibling duo must be performed by non-cis-male performers. Macrame Mama and Pasta Western are performed by one actor. All the actors are playing in the wake of performance’s instability, it’s risky and perhaps a bit paranoid. The whole world of this play is riding off a crackling energy of danger, like the perverse pleasure of putting your finger in an electrical socket. It’s a game with fluid rules, and it’s more important to play than to win.

You will ride the wave out, not sure if you’ll capsize or levitate.

Note on Shape

Inside many of the uttered lines, comes a hint or clue for the shape. There are many breaking points in this script. I am dyslexic, words break-down and rearrange before my eyes all the time. It’s disorienting, but also deeply pleasurable to play in the groundlessness of language. How can the form of a play feel dyslexic, continually breaking and rearranging? Sometimes words stop working and silence is needed, the body wiggles through loss rather than finding stability.

Slices are used in-lieu of scenes, and parts in-lieu of acts.

Like a worm cut in half, one play becomes two, becomes three, becomes many. Once a slice occurs a soft, unformed thing is left to learn how to move on its own, away from the whole, a-part of the original body.