University of Pittsburgh
November 20, 2005

Pitt's Repertory Theatre Presents Shepard's A Lie of the Mind Nov. 30-Dec. 11

Truth and lies become one and the same

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre's 2005-06 season continues with Sam Shepard's gritty family drama A Lie of the Mind, Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in the Henry Heymann Theatre, located in the Stephen Foster Memorial, Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland. Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at

2 p.m. For ticket information, call 412-624-7529 or visit

A Lie of the Mind, directed by Pitt assistant professor of theatre arts Melanie Dreyer, is the third play in Pitt Rep's five-production season focusing on the power of memory. Each production is accompanied by a free public Memory Speaks! seminar. The next seminar, called "Trauma," will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Heymann Theatre and will feature Janice Haaken, professor of psychology at Portland State University, speaking on "Memory, Mourning, and Manhood in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind," and Mark E. Wheeler, assistant professor of psychology at Pitt, addressing the question "Where Does the Brain Store Memories?"

A Lie of the Mind follows the story of Jake and Beth, two lovers whose violent and turbulent relationship threatens to destroy them. After savagely beating Beth to the brink of death, Jake returns to his mother's home in California, convinced that he has killed her. Jake's brother, Frankie, goes to Beth's family in search of the truth and finds her alive but brain damaged from Jake's beating. As the tensions and enmities that surround the two families grow disturbingly dangerous, the border between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

Dreyer chose the play, in part, to give the student performers the chance to do "down and out gritty realism." She admits she is a little nervous about attempting such complex, emotionally wrought material with undergraduates because some haven't experienced the kind of all-consuming love A Lie of the Mind explores. "They need to know what that feels like and go to those scary places. It's not an experience one can manufacture," said Dreyer.

Dreyer is a freelance actor and director, whose work has been seen in Pittsburgh with companies such as Quantum and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. For Pitt Rep, she has directed shows as varied as Brecht's Mother Courage, Moilere's Learned Ladies, and Tami Ryan's The Boundary.

Elena Alexandratos, Pitt Theatre Arts teaching artist-in-residence, will be featured in the role of Lorraine. Benjamin Blazer (Jake), Jennifer Murray (Beth), Michael Antosy (Frankie), Joshua Boyer (Mike), Betse Lyons (Sally), Marc Epstein (Baylor), and Barbara Lawrence (Meg) round out the cast of players.