Thursdays at the Handwerker and the On the Verge play-reading series present a staged reading of Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class, featuring Tony award-winning actor Frank Wood.

11/25/2012

Contributed by Claire Gleitman

On Thursday, November 29th, at 6:00 p.m., the On the Verge play-reading series will present a staged reading of Curse of the Starving Class, directed by English professor Claire Gleitman. The cast will include IC faculty members Kathleen Mulligan and Chris Holmes, students from the IC theater department, and visiting artist Frank Wood.

Wood is a NYC actor who has been seen in numerous stage, film and television productions. In 1999, Wood won a Tony award for his performance as Gene in Side Man. Other Broadway credits include August: Osage County and Clybourne Park; Wood also starred as Roy Cohn in the 2010 Signature Theatre revival of Angels in America. His film credits include The Royal Tenenbaums, Michael Clayton, and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and he has been seen on television in Flight of the Conchords (as Greg, a recurring role), The Sopranos, Law and Order, Bored to Death, Modern Family, and many others. 

Curse of the Starving Class, written by Sam Shepard in 1976, takes place in the American West on a decrepit farm where nothing very much grows and where the maggot-infested livestock literalizes the disease that has infected its human owners. The parents in this household struggle to obtain their piece of a pie that has already been sliced and distributed without their knowing it; their children, meanwhile, are left to salvage what they can from the wreckage of their home and from a refrigerator that is always empty, even when it isn’t. Forever comparing themselves to populations of people that they regard as less “civilized” than they (such as “the starving class,” to which they are certain they do not belong), the Tate family cannot understand how it is that they have found themselves starved, hollowed out, barely distinguishable from the skinned lamb carcass that is brought onto the stage at the play’s end. Shepard’s answer, it seems, is that America makes promises that it palpably fails to fulfill: the frontier is no longer, the American dream exists only to bewitch and dupe, and the sanctified nuclear family breeds disease that is passed from one generation to the next. Yet, despite its dark message, Curse of the Starving Class is raucous and frequently hilarious, as its central characters insist on asserting their wild energies even as they are brought down by the zombie class that aims to suck them dry.

All Handwerker events are free and open to the public.  Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.; Thursday, 10.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.; and weekends, noon to 5.00 p.m.. The gallery is closed to the public on Tuesdays unless otherwise specified for an event but can accommodate group or class visits by appointment.

For further information or individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations contact Mara Baldwin at mbaldwin@ithaca.edu or 607.274.3548. Please make requests for accommodations as far in advance as possible.

 

 

 

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