Liz on Theatre

Sam Shepard's 'Simpatico' takes off

cf4447a92a67d7543d7e__l-r__Mierka_Girten__Michael_Shannon__and_John_Judd._Photo_by_Richard_Termine.jpg
e86f381fca7aa564146c_Guy_Van_Swearingen_and_Michael_Shannon._Photo_by_Richard_Termine.jpg
ae44f03d87296364b31a_Jennifer_Engstrom_and_Guy_Van_Swearingen._Photo_by_Richard_Termine.jpg
06bf6974154f731bf0d0_John_Judd_and_Guy_Van_Swearingen._Photo_by_Richard_Termine.jpg
cf4447a92a67d7543d7e__l-r__Mierka_Girten__Michael_Shannon__and_John_Judd._Photo_by_Richard_Termine.jpg

Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” has a forceful workout at McCarter Theatre.

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, NJ – If you’re at all familiar with the works of Sam Shepard, you know that he writes about gritty, unforgiving characters in what appear to be hopeless situations.

Sign Up for E-News

In “Simpatico,” we learn that Vinnie and Carter are former partners in a race horse scheme, but dissolved that relationship 15 years ago. (Simpatico was the name of the race horse.) The hapless Vinnie (Guy Van Swearingen) is visited by Carter (Michael Shannon) to bail him out from yet another arrest, this time for threatening his girlfriend, Cecilia.

The preppy, successful Carter initially sees his job as smoothing over Vinnie’s troubles. Carter visits Cecilia (Mierka Girten) in her home and persuades her to some to Vinnie’s place to sort out their problems.  But along the way, Vinnie visits Simms (John Judd) to convince him he has compromising photographs of his former girlfriend, Rosie, with Simms. He tries, unsuccessfully, to get Simms to buy them.

When Simms rejects his offer, Vinnie goes to Kentucky and confronts, Rosie (Jennifer Engstrom), who is now married to Carter.  We see Kristin E. Ellis as Kelly, who takes care of Rosie’s children, but is suspicious of Vinnie when he comes to call.

Meanwhile, Carter convinces Cecilia to visit Simms and offer him money to take back the box of photos that he thinks Vinnie has sold to Simms.

If this isn’t confusing enough, we have scenes in Cucamonga and San Dimas, California and Midway and Lexington, Kentucky. The action moves along from Vinnie’s hole-in-the wall digs to a mansion, with set design by Grant Sabin. Costumes by Christine Pascual reflect the rich/poor contrasts among the characters. It all takes a dark turn as Carter begins to disintegrate while Vinnie becomes stronger.

Dado has directed this production, which has been presented, in conjunction with McCarter, by A Red Orchid Theatre Company from Chicago.  It’s a fitting tribute to playwright Shepard, who died in July. Still, we are left wondering about the ultimate fate of these problematic people. There are touches of humor along the way, especially when Cecilia thinks she might go to the Kentucky Derby, a long held dream.

The question through all of this is: why should we care about these people? The only sane one appears to be Cecilia, who works in a Safeway Supermarket.  The actors are all convincing in their roles, especially Rosie with her come-hither charm, who is emotionally devastated when Vinnie gives her the box of pictures.

If you’re a Shepard fan, this is the play for you. But if you’re not, it’s a downhill slog from beginning to end.  “Simpatico” continues at the Berlind Theatre of the McCarter Theatre Center through Oct. 15. For tickets, call 609-528-2787 or visit mccarter.org

 

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Randolph

Winter Forecast for 3-5 Inches Continues through Early Sunday Morning in Randolph Area

February 17, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A winter weather advisory remains In Effect From 4 pm this afternoon to 4 am Sunday according to the National Weather Service.

Total snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are  expected. 

Snow will quickly overspread the area from the southwest, becoming moderate to potentially  heavy at times this evening.

The snow should be finished by 4 a.m.

Plan ...

Randolph PTO Council Presents  “ALL IN” FUNDRAISER Featuring The Nerds

February 12, 2018

INVITATIONS ARE OUT!!

Randolph PTO Council presents our  “ALL IN” FUNDRAISER at the

Hanover Marriott, Route 10 E Whippany, NJ

Friday March 16th ~ 6:30pm - 11 pm

Featuring the band “THE NERDS”.

The Grand Raffle this year features fantastic prizes donated by generous local businesses. A $10 ticket gives you a chance to win a $5000 diamond ...

Morristown Happenings: Things to do in Morristown this Weekend

February 16, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  What do you have planned this President's Day Weekend?  Check out history at Washington Headquarter's new Discover History Center, take a glass blowing class, try your hand at a maple sugar demo or cheer for Morristown athletes as they compete this weekend. Whatever you chose, have a great weekend everyone!

 

Friday February 16

Yoga & ...

January Randolph Police Blotter Includes Many Outstanding Warrants

February 15, 2018

Jan 3, Janeth Ladino-Varon, 45, Randolph was arrested for an outstanding warrant issued by the Randolph Twp Municipal Court.  .  The defendant was processed and released.

Jan 10, Patrick C. Lake, 30, Denville was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal attempt and criminal mischief.  Lake was processed and transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Jan 15, ...

Randolph Mayor Reflects on Interests and Concerns of Residents

February 15, 2018

I hope that everyone is enjoying the winter weather here in beautiful Randolph Township! It’s a wonderful time to enjoy many outdoor activities with family. From ice skating to sledding to skiing, it’s our varied seasons that attract so many to our wonderful community. Just be sure to stay safe. Do not ever go out on thin ice, and be careful when heading down those slopes! For those ...

Morris County School of Technology Teacher Nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

February 7, 2018

DENVILLE, NJ - Morris County School of Technology teacher Jennifer Skomial has been nominated for the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, the national LifeChanger of the Year program recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 public and private school educators and employees across the United States who are making a difference in ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_372ef01df09b7fe86ea4_photo-rc

Sun, February 18, 2:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Harmonium Outreach Chorus

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_f15ab536b344851ebebb_star_balloons

Thu, February 22, 2:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Zoom Balloons Show at the Library

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_a462a07fc0090668b3c1_star_balloons

Thu, February 22, 4:30 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Zoom Comedy Magic Show

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Health & Wellness

Ironia Teacher Named "Teacher Who Rocks" by WDHA

February 5, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Ironia first grade teacher Cathy Murphy was recently recognized by WDHA Radio Station as a "Teacher Who Rocks".

Mrs. Murphy was nominated by Ironia paraprofessional Andria Barosi-Stampone, who wrote the following in her nomination. "Mrs. Murphy is a true role model not just for her students, but for her coworkers as well," she said. "She is a ...

Randolph Superintendent, RMS and RHS Principals Speak on School Safety Following Florida Tragedy

February 17, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ-  Superintendent Jenn Fano made this statement regarding the tragedy in Florida on Wednesday:  “We are deeply saddened by the school shooting tragedy in Florida.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.  We are taking this opportunity to once again review all our protocols in the Randolph School District to ensure that we are doing everything ...

Parent Guide to Helping Kids Cope With the Florida Mass Shooting

February 18, 2018

The massacre at a Florida high school on Wednesday is hard for adults to wrap their head around, but it can be completely overwhelming for children who hear about it or see images of the carnage. Parents need to help guide their children through the fear, anger, upset and helplessness such a horrific attack can stir up in children.

“The first thing parents should do is assess their own ...

CCM Library to Offer Free Workshops in Grant Writing and Fundraising Workshops Provided by Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network

February 18, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ – The County College of Morris (CCM) Library’s Foundation Center Funding Information Network is offering three free workshops on the Foundation Center products during the college’s Spring Break, March 12-15.   The CCM Library is a participant in the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network. Network partners provide a suite of ...

CCM Launches a Degree in Virtual Reality Providing Students with a Range of Options in a Rapidly Developing Field

RANDOLPH, NJ – From gaming to training surgeons, virtual reality (VR) has become an increasingly used technology for both entertainment and learning. Recognizing that VR will only continue to grow as it becomes even more prevalent in our lives, County College of Morris (CCM) has launched an Associate in Applied Science degree in VR.

The degree will be offered starting with the Fall 2018 ...

Register for CCM Summer 2018 Sessions: Utilize Your Summer and Save on Tuition

RANDOLPH, NJ -- County College of Morris (CCM) offers an affordable way to earn credits, fast-track a college education, tackle a challenging class, earn credits faster or lighten a course load through its Summer Sessions program.

Courses offered cover a range of general education requirements and disciplines such as the arts, humanities, science, business, engineering, health and more. Summer ...

Atlantic Health, Five Additional NJ Hospital Systems Partner to Form 'Healthcare Transformation Consortium'

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Recently, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase announced they were joining forces to reduce healthcare costs. Now six New Jersey-based health care systems, including Atlantic Health System -- parent corporation of Summit's Overlook Medical Center -- have been working on the same goal, and have formed a consortium designed to reduce costs, expand ...

Pediatric Dental Associates Of Randolph Participates In Give Kids a Smile Day

RANDOLPH, NJ —On Friday, Feb. 2 Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph participated in the American Dental Association’s Give Kids A Smile Day (GKAS), providing free dental care to local children who desperately needed it. 

The children all received comprehensive exams, x-rays, cleanings and fluoride treatments.  Many of the children participating in the ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 18, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 18, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...