‘A Lie of the Mind’ casts dark shadow on Dramat season

The Yale Dramat’s newest show, “A Lie of the Mind,” centers around an abusive marital relationship and features a darker and more intense tone than previous Dramat shows.
The Yale Dramat’s newest show, “A Lie of the Mind,” centers around an abusive marital relationship and features a darker and more intense tone than previous Dramat shows. Photo by Brianne Bowen.

As members of the Yale Dramat prepare for their newest show, they are grappling with the play’s emphasis on the dark side of love and memories.

The Dramat’s latest experimental production, Sam Shepard’s 1985 play “A Lie of the Mind,” opens Thursday night. Directed by Kate Heaney ’14, the play will be performed at the Yale Repertory Theater and centers on two families in the American West that are connected by the abusive relationship between married couple Beth and Jake. President of the Dramat Board Meredith Davis ’13 explained that the serious themes of the production contrast with the more happy-go-lucky Fall Mainstage, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” adding diversity to the season as a whole.

While most of the cast members have participated in other shows during their time at Yale — including the similarly dark “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and “Blood Brothers” — the three cast members interviewed all said that none of the themes in those works were as haunting or intense as those in “A Lie of the Mind.”

Several of the play’s eight actors portray characters whose lives and backgrounds are vastly different from their own. Stephanie Brandon ’13, who plays the older woman Lorraine , said getting into the mindset of her character was a “learning process.” In order to familiarize herself with the experiences of the elderly, Brandon recalled stories she had heard from family, friends and acquaintances who had gone through similar issues. Bonnie Antosh ’13, whose character Beth suffers brain trauma from the physical abuse in her marriage, said that she did a great deal of reading on the medical and psychological effects of spousal abuse in addition to speaking with various rape crisis and domestic abuse centers in her home state of South Carolina.

When Heaney and Head Producer Natalia Forbath ’15 submitted their proposal to stage “A Lie of the Mind,” the Dramat Executive Board was highly impressed with how Heaney explored the concept of memory in her plans for the production, Davis said. In Shepard’s story, the way the characters relate to their own memories impacts the relationships they are able to form with each other, Marina Horiates ’15, who plays Sally, said, adding that her character’s interactions with her brothers are impacted by the way each relates to their father’s death.

“[Heaney] was very articulate about her vision,” Davis said.

The set will feature columns placed around the stage and a “memory wall” running along the back, both of which display photos from the chacters’ lives, Heaney said, explaining that the memories “create the very plane of where the characters are.”

Assistant Stage Manager Kathryn Osborn ’15 said on Monday night that the production was running smoothly and ahead of schedule.

Horiates said that the actors are all incredibly dedicated and energetic and have developed strong relationships with each other, which has contributed to the play’s success.

“I’m just so inspired by everyone in this cast,” she said.

“A Lie of the Mind” will run from October 4 to October 6.

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