Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

A Lie of the Mind

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Written by  Sam Shepard
Original language  English
Playwright  Sam Shepard
Date premiered  December 5, 1985
First performance  5 December 1985
Genre  Drama
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Place premiered  Promenade Theater New York City, New York
Subject  Two families torn apart by tragedy
Characters  Lorraine, Beth, Baylor, Sally, Jake, Meg, Mike, Frankie
Similar  Sam Shepard plays, Dramas

A lie of the mind by sam shepard

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).

Beyond broadway a lie of the mind

Plot synopsis

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.

Production history

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:

  • Baylor - James Gammon
  • Jake - Harvey Keitel
  • Lorraine - Geraldine Page
  • Mike - Will Patton
  • Beth - Amanda Plummer
  • Frankie - Aidan Quinn
  • Meg - Ann Wedgeworth
  • Sally - Karen Young
  • Revival

    The first major Off-Broadway revival of A Lie of the Mind was staged by the New Group at the Acorn Theatre. 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). The show began previews on January 29, 2010, with a limited engagement from February 18 to March 20, 2010. It was nominated for five Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Revival, and two Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Director of a Play. The cast was featured on The New Yorker's list of the Best Performers of 2010.

    Awards and nominations

  • 1986 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
  • 1986 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play
  • 1986 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play
  • 2010 Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Revival (nominee)
  • 2010 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Director of a Play, Ethan Hawke (nominee)
  • 2010 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Music in a Play, Gaines (nominee)
  • 2010 Obie Award Performance, Laurie Metcalf (winner)
  • Songs

    1Run Sister Run
    2South of the Border / In the Pines
    3Honey Babe


    A Lie of the Mind Wikipedia