Blue Night in the Heart of the West

James Stock’s play suggests a Dadaist variation on Sam Shepard’s Buried Child. The Shreveports are an incestuous, illiterate, intolerant farm family in Epiphany, Iowa. Son Carl (Benjamin Burdick) is humping both mom Ruth (Hepburn Jamieson) and his palm-reading sister, Kristin (Daryl Dickerson). Dad (Andrew Schlessinger) is a deceased Marine whose ghost comes back to visit Ruth and dance to Peggy Lee records. Carl has an unlikely fascination with English movies and the philosophy of Wittgenstein. Their corn is leveled by a tornado, their pigs commit suicide, and the land is (perhaps) sinking into the ground. Meanwhile, Scottish topiary artist Andrew McAlpine (Shawn MacAulay) decides that Scotland is dying of nostalgia, and immigrates to Nevada to practice his art, till he discovers Nevada has no shrubbery. The two plot lines converge (sort of) when Andrew changes his name to John and marries Kristin. Writer Stock seems to feel that if he piles up enough colorful symbols, they’ll eventually mean something, but, alas, they don’t. His play boasts some funny lines and situations – beautifully acted under Amanda Weier’s direction. But the longer it goes on, the less it matters. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 2. Continues through June 21, 2008