Travis Preston, Dean of the CalArts School of Theater, spent the summer directing Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Buried Child at the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. It was translated by Artistic Director Anthony Chan and performed in Cantonese with subtitles in Chinese and English from July 15-23.
When word of Shepard’s passing reached the public last week, Preston reflected on Shepard and the playwright/actor’s influence on his own work.
Preston wrote in an email:
Through this process I gained an even greater appreciation for the depth of his vision, artistry, and humanity – and his singular position as an American writer. Directing this play in Hong Kong, in a language and culture distant from the American heartland, affirmed the universal reach of this great artist.
In light of his passing, I wanted to share a few of the photos in this email. It was part of the 40th anniversary of the Hong Kong Rep and a wonderful return for me to that amazing city. It was an extraordinary experience with an expert company of actors. Chris Barreca [Head of Scenic Design at CalArts] did the design and, as the images will attest, it was absolutely singular.
I believe it is a fitting testament to Shepard’s extraordinary legacy.
Buried Child unfolds in a small farmhouse in rural Illinois, as a tormented family finally confronts the terrible secret from their past. Although grounded in realism, the play contains surrealist elements that capture the disillusion of the American dream in the post-Vietnam era.