Arts & Entertainment

The God of Hell

Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell was written in 2004, and was very much a product of its time but, as actor and producer Jake Lyall points out, in Australia’s current political climate, it seems to be more topical than ever.

“It [was] Sheperd’s take on the Bush administration coming into power and that pro-American aggressiveness they had towards everything,” he explains. “Pushing the hunt for oil, mining and gas. Bringing it back to Australian audiences, it is frighteningly perfect for the current government.”

The “dark farce” as Shepard himself characterises it, takes place in a rural Wisconsin town that sees an on-the-lam scientist hiding out in a quiet farming couple’s barn while being hotly pursued by an ultra-patriotic government employee, intent on getting his man.

Lyall hopes that audiences might take away, not only an appreciation for Shepard’s work, but also a broadened understanding of the social issues he calls into question, and perhaps even “…a greater awareness of the power government has, the construction of patriotism, and the spin that gets put on everything. [Shepard’s] always written about social and political issues, and they might resonate with Australian audiences,” he says. “He doesn’t necessarily answer questions, but raises them for us…[questions like] ‘what is our government doing for us?’” – a timely discourse, indeed. (SW)

Aug 26-Sep 13, Old Fitzroy Theatre, 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, $26-39, sitcom.net.au

BY SIRI WILLIAMS

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