AU Press Releases

Performing Arts presents Sam Shepard’s ‘A Lie of the Mind’

The Division of Performing Arts at Alfred University will present four performances of Sam Shepard’s "A Lie of the Mind" Wednesday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. in the CD Smith III Theatre.

Reservations are required. Tickets can be obtained by calling (607) 871-2828 or e-mailing

Set in the gritty American West, this award-winning play explores family dysfunction and the nature of love after a severe incident of spousal abuse tears two families apart. Professor of Theater Stephen Crosby directs the production.

At the center of the play is the story of a young married couple, Jake and Beth. Jake, volatile and damaged from a dysfunctional childhood and absentee alcoholic father, tells us in the play’s opening scene that he has beaten Beth up so badly he thinks she is dead, which is not far from the truth. Both Jake and Beth retreat to their respective families to recover from the extreme trauma of what happened. The play then alternates between the two homes, but the lines between them become increasingly hazy as the story evolves.

"A Lie of the Mind" opened to critical acclaim on Dec. 5, 1985 at New York City’s Promenade Theatre. The play won the 1986 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play.

The New Group at the Acorn Theatre staged the first major off-Broadway revival of the play in winter 2010. The revival was nominated for five Lucille Lortel Awards and two Drama Desk Awards, and the cast was featured on the New Yorker’s list of the Best Performers of 2010.

"A Lie of the Mind" director Crosby has worked professionally as an Equity actor, director and writer in New York, Los Angeles and in regional theaters. In the last several years, he has returned to the stage as an actor, portraying Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" and performing and touring Alaska with the Fairbanks Shakespeare Festival. He holds a master of fine arts degree in directing from Florida State University.

Markéta Fantová, associate professor of theater design, is the scenic and lighting designer for the production.

Students involved in the production include seniors Nate Gibson, Joe Edizel, Andrew Wheeler, Jack Styles and Michaela Stone, junior Kate Truini, and several others.