“A Lie of the Mind” Review: A Tale of Jake and Beth

An unfortunate reality for many domestic violence victims is the unyielding want and desperation to see their abuser one more time.

In The Seeing Place Theater’s interpretation of Sam Shepard’s dark drama “A Lie of the Mind,” two families are connected by domestic violence and its effect on a household. A husband feels his actress wife has been unfaithful to him and takes action to teach her a lesson, so to speak. Beth (Erin Cronican) has been left with brain damage as a result of a brutal beating at the hands of her brooding husband, Jake (Brandon Walker).

Jake thinks that Beth is dead and is left a man with numerous demons to face. Both Beth and Jake’s parents have never made a great effort to know their in-laws. Lorraine (Janice Hall) is Jake’s unassuming mother who thinks her son could do no wrong and eventually offers a home to her ailing son.

The entire cast interacts as one big dysfunctional family. A particular standout was Beth’s brother, Mike (Philip Lakin). The way he tries to protect his sister from the man who essentially ruined her life uplifts the dark play. Brandon Walker is also quite convincing with the dark roles he usually plays at The Seeing Place. Beth’s father, Baylor (Alan Altschuler) plays a significant role as he would rather worry about business than his sick daughter.

Cronican’s depiction of this broken woman was compelling and a bit eerie to watch. Her character, left in a vegetative state only able to mutter a few jumbled sentences and unable to even walk alone, Cronican, remains alive as ever in this role.

In the show it is interesting how the acting never stops. Even when the spotlight isn’t on the actors in focus, the ones in the dark are still in character and are never lazy in their delivery. In a brave move, Jake’s brother, Frankie (Jason Wilson) comes to Beth’s home to see his sister-in-law’s condition. After this, the play picks up and many memorable moments are to follow.
For the low price of admission, The Seeing Place Theater puts on a good show. The play runs over three hours long but has a strong cast of dedicated actors who work hard to bring this emotional piece of literature to life.

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