Unseen Shepard

Theatre (drama, new writing)

  • theSpace on the Mile - Space 3
  • 19:35
  • Aug 20
  • 50 minutes
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United States
  • Group: Eagle Rock Theatre Company (Los Angeles, California)
  • Warnings and additional info: -
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 18 months


Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard is on his deathbed and he’s confronted by characters from his past works, demanding a rewrite. They won't let him go without a fight. Among them are writers, cowboys, abusive husbands, punk rockers and long suffering women, who all want more out of their trapped existence. However, they only have a short time to plead their cases. This world premiere drama is a surreal fever dream of a writer confronted by his creations on the last night of his life.

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: Information not supplied
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

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Judy Grimshaw 41 days ago

Interesting and thought provoking. You don't need to know much about the characters or the plays to appreciate the premise. Bringing a 21st century ethos to mid West in the 70s, 80s does certainly raise a lot of quite uncomfortable questions.

Julia Stubbs 41 days ago

UNSEEN SHEPARD is a compelling new play imagining the last life of playwright Sam Shepard. Passionate performances from the 3 actors exploring an intriguing idea - go see!

tracey ulterino 41 days ago

Beautifully acted drama exploring one of America’s most iconic playwrights through a modern and feminist lens. Thought provoking and clever. Would strongly recommend!

Gavin Walker 42 days ago

This play is fantastic. Great acting, unique plot that takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster. 45 minutes of total engagement. If you want a break from comedy go and see this.

Bernie Maxwell 48 days ago

This is simply a brilliant piece of drama, beautifully performed - a must see show! Bravo.

Adrian Ross 48 days ago

A dying playwright is visited by the characters he created, all wanting to escape their downbeat lives. The concept is simple enough, but this three-hander becomes more complicated when two of the cast, a man and a woman, adopt various personas. They even suggest that they represent a restless gaggle of additional characters, apparently stuck behind the scenes.

Alternately, they slip in and out of Sam Shepard’s reality on the last day of his life. Not knowing the Shepard canon in any detail, I found myself reaching back to a haunting production of Buried Child at university and a vague memory of reading one of his other scripts.

In the event, though, this production requires no prior knowledge of Shepard. The milieu of his characters – described in the show’s blurb as ‘cowboys, abusive husbands, punk rockers and long-suffering women’ – is vividly brought to life by three extremely good actors.

Matt Foyer, as Shepard, anchors the piece admirably and provides a sense of someone grappling with his perspective on the world. We get a compelling insight into what led the writer to his portraits of people struggling at the edges of American society. Interestingly, his own characters challenge his social attitudes.

As his foils, show co-writer Matt Braaten and Cameron Meyer ask him to make changes to the plays, discussing and even re-enacting key moments. Their versatility is a strength, but the multiple characters mean Shepard has to repeat himself, and for a while we’re viewing a conflict that barely progresses, let alone hinting at a resolution (though a rather elegant one does arrive).

This ‘ensemble’ approach provides variety but also rather dilutes the impact of each individual portrait. Another way of handling the drama would have been to focus strongly on just two of Shepard’s characters and build them up to match the depth and gravitas of his own. That’s not so much a criticism as a reflection that I enjoyed some of these vignettes so much I wished they could have been sustained and developed further.

Overall, this playful and humane show is an atmospheric must-see for anyone interested in writers. Los Angeles-based Eagle Rock Theatre Company have brought a fine show to Edinburgh and it’s a fitting tribute to co-writer Nic D’Avirro, who died before realising his dream of seeing it performed here. So, yes, it deserves your attention. It’s time for Unseen Shepard to be seen. Catch it at theSpace on the Mile (venue 39) at 7.35pm, until 20 August (excluding 14 August).

Rating: ★★★

JennyK 50 days ago

Though provoking but entertaining play. Agree with the below review : very clever. And funny. And energetic.

Anton Zherzdev 53 days ago

A rather clever play that builds upon the premise that the author creates certain characters to impersonate some real people he had issues with. Many interesting questions arise. What happens when the writing is finished? Can you change the past? Can you get over it and live on? Impressive acting.

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Broadway Baby (4/5 stars) 21 days ago

Compelling and impassioned performances with emotionally nuanced moments

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