A classic show with a twist. Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love is a western based in the Mojave Desert. The play premiered in 1983 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, where Shepard was the playwright-in-residence. The 1985 movie featured Shepard as Eddie, Kim Basinger as May, Harry Dean Stanton as The Old Man, and Randy Quaid as Martin.
Limelight Theatre’s rendition casts local African American actors in the three main roles. The drama is on stage January 18 through February 11 in the Koger-Gamache Studio 4, a 75-seat intimate black box space.
Well known re-enactor James Bullock plays The Old Man; Flagler College student Terrence “Scottie” Scott plays Eddie, and local graphic designer/artist Alexis Ayala plays May. Local actors Noah Budkoski and Ian Deal play Martin. Mike Beaman is the director, a drama instructor at St. Johns County Center for the Arts at St. Augustine High School, and a Flagler College Theatre graduate.
Through searing truth and dark humor, Fool for Love shows the story of two people who just can’t live without each other, whether they like it or not. May is hiding out at an old motel in the Mojave Desert. Eddie, an old flame and childhood friend, finds her there and threatens to drag her back into the life from which she had fled.
Reality and dream; truth and lies; past and present mingle in an explosive, emotional experience.
The poignancy of their situation is pointed out by the play’s two other characters: A hapless young man who stops by to take May to the movies and becomes the butt of Eddie’s funniest yet most humiliating jokes, and a ghostly old man who sits in a rocking chair at the side of the stage, sipping whiskey and commenting wryly on what he observes.
Eventually May and Eddie tire of their struggle and embrace – but it is evident that the respite is temporary and that their love, the curse of the past which haunts them, will remain forever damned and hopeless.
In a letter to his friend and virtuoso collaborator, Joe Chaikin, Shepard described his play as “the outcome of all this tumultuous feeling I’ve been going through this past year. … it’s a very emotional play and in some ways embarrassing for me to witness but somehow necessary at the same time.”
“Falling in love is such a dumbfounding experience,” Shepard said. “In one way you wouldn’t trade it for the world. In another way, it’s absolute hell.”