by Sam Shepard
set & costume design
director: Adelaide Waldrop
LAMDA, Carne Theatre
show photos by Terry Smith
True West focusses on the relationship and rivalry between two brothers, Austin and Lee. Whilst house sitting their mother's place, relations between the brothers become increasingly volatile. Gradually, they destroy their mom's carefully cultivated home in the attempt to reconnect to the true wild west.
True West was performed in traverse and in rep with Skin Tight with a 20 minute turnaround.
design process and development:
The mom's house needed to reflect her self-contained, quiet and modest life in suburban California. We set this scene with a simple kitchen, holiday fridge magnets, dated wallpaper and curtains, a cheap lino floor, worn astroturf and manicured plants. On the outside of the house, junk, sand and rock crept up the exterior walls to represent the wild west waiting to break into the cultivated interior. As the brothers destroyed the house they ripped panels off the walls revealing the structural framework, broke the light, set a fire and threw rubbish across the set. This balance between brewing chaos of the wilderness (both outside and deep within) and the controlled restraint of everyday life was the main theme of the design.