The team of True West are nothing if not bold. This week, the Roots Crew was able to meet up with Jacob Grodnik and Drake Shannon to hear about their latest production, written by Sam Shepard.
Sitting in a quiet back room of the busy Owyhee, Shannon gets right into the grit of the story – the mostly true story. However, the audience may find it hard to tell between fact and fiction when dragged into the world of two contentious brothers, Austin and Lee.
Grodnik, who plays the ivy-educated screenwriter, Austin, describes his character as a man who has done everything a man is told to do. He has a job, wife, kids, and a nice house in the city, but also a simmering desperation that may drive him to the edge.
Lee, played by Shannon, could not be more opposite of his brother. He is the embodiment of the underbelly of the old west. He is part vagabond and part bandit, with a reckless ambition and volatile temper. While the pair watches their mother’s home, they happen upon a slick-type Hollywood producer and the temptation of success. It doesn’t take long before a typical sibling rivalry plunges swiftly into madness.
The action doesn’t seem to stop at the end of the stage. Grodnik describes the scene as tornado country set in a kitchen. It’s a wild, dangerous, desolate place. Shannon puts it plainly, “It’s primal. It’s animalistic. That’s where we go, and the audience is with us.”
Grodnik laughs, “We joked about calling some of the seating a splash zone.” He’s not serious, but is almost serious, as he describes the whirlwind interaction of the characters and the intensity of the performance. Each character seems to be reaching for the end of a single rope as they circle around each other, believing that they have found the person to launch them into success.
However, all of their aspirations may just be as fruitless as the hard earth they are on, and in their desperation, they slip into a feral destruction. This isn’t your typical dinner theater, this is rock and roll.
The team of True West has done the task of creating the incredible in Boise by keeping the play true to form, while also stretching the limits. Shepard’s True West is serious business, creating roles that were once held by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly while in its Broadway run. The Boise theater scene hasn’t known how it’s been waiting for this production to arrive. You won’t want to miss it.
The limited run of True West goes from May 18, 2017 through May 21, 2017 at the Danny Peterson Theater in the Morrison Center. If you want a seat, get there early. The mind stretching production is brought to you by Jacob Grodnik, Nick Garcia, Hollis Welsh, Drake Shannon, and production manager Garrett Holmes.
Thursday, May 18 through Saturday, May 20, 2017, show time starts at 7:30pm
Sunday, May 21, 2017, matinee performance at 2:00pm
Danny Peterson Theater, 2201 West Cesar Chavez Lane in Boise.
Admission is free.