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  The Unseen Hand and Killer's Head Reviews
The Unseen Hand and Killer's Head
Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Los Angeles Times- Recommended

"...The bulk of the program is "The Unseen Hand," which is Shepard at his gleefully irreverent best. It's a sci-fi-western hybrid that undermines both genres - as well as character continuity, logic and language itself. Often hilarious, the play takes pointed swipes at familiar Shepard stalking horses: cliched American ideals of cowboy masculinity corrupted by conformity and mediocrity."
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Philip Brandes

Broadway World- Recommended

"...Shepard's THE UNSEEN HAND joins Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's 50th Anniversary "Circa '69" Season of significant and adventurous plays that premiered around the time of the company's inception, coupled with Shepard's gritty and audacious KILLER'S HEAD."
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Shari Barrett

Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...As with Shepard's best works, The Unseen Hand is at times extremely funny, but it's also commentary on the loss of innocence and individuality. It's very unpredictable and profound, proving once again what a great writer Shepard was. It's an offbeat and occasionally perplexing night of theater, but the actors hurl into the material with wildness - rowdy, rough, and ready. Sure, some may be bewildered by the 85-minute play, but you won't be able to turn away from the acting, expertly guided by director Darrel Larson."
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Joan Aplerin

LA Splash- Somewhat Recommended

"...From a historical perspective which honors Sam Shepard's early work in experimental theater, this double bill was intriguing. At the same time, both plays often prove confusing and difficult to follow. They clearly reflected the ethos of the hippie era - both comic and tragic - but times and styles change. Shepard's early work might almost be seen as the male version of the feminist movement, in that he studies the world from the perspective of the macho guy and all that viewpoint entails. Aficionados of Shepard's work, as well as drama history buffs, will clearly enjoy the double bill. However, early Shepard might also be seen as an acquired taste."
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Elaine Mura

On Stage Los Angeles- Recommended

"...Director Darrell Larson's personal friendship with Shepard and his own avid devotion to 'relevant' theatre informs these two short pieces in a more intimate way than other directors might present them. Shepard's words and the unusual circumstances in both pieces speak to "modern" audiences of the sixties as well as to audiences here in the 21st Century."
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Hollywood Progressive- Recommended

"...Be that as it may (or may not), the prolific Shepard, who penned 44 plays, won the Pulitzer Prize for 1979's Buried Child, scored 10 Obie Awards and as if playwriting wasn't enough, was also a gifted thespian. He acted in films such as 1982's Frances opposite his longtime love Jessica Lange and was Oscar-nommed as Chuck Yeager in 1983's The Right Stuff. Like that pilot he unforgettably depicted, he also broke the "sound" barrier - with his original, scathing, witty words and stories. (Vs. Theatre Company also deserves an honorable mention - last year the L.A. troupe presented an excellent rendition of Shepard's True West, with its caustic commentary about Hollywood and more.)"
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Ed Rampell

Total Theater- Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Darrell Larson, produced by Ron Sossi and Bo Powell, the two plays have been brought to life in vigorous fashion, thanks to the expert acting by the members of the Ensemble, starting with Steve Hovey. The latter held the stage in Killer's Head, a ten-minute monologue spoken by a prisoner awaiting death in the electric chair. Though he's on the verge of extinction, his last thoughts are all about life (the trucks he drove and loved). Hovey expertly captured the power and poignancy of these last words. (Five other actors will rotate in this demanding role)."
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Willard Manus

Stage Raw- Somewhat Recommended

"...As part of its 50th year celebration, Odyssey Theatre is presenting Killer's Head and The Unseen Hand, two rarely seen plays by the great Sam Shepard, both directed by Darrell Larson, a terrific actor and longtime standout of the Los Angeles theater scene."
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Stephen Fife

Theatre Notes- Recommended

"...Under the keen direction of Darrell Larson, the pace of action is brisk. The show benefits from the talents of set designer Song Yi Park; lighting designer Bosco Flanagan; with costumes and props by Denise Blasor. Original music is composed by Mitch Greenhill, and sound design is by Mitch Greenhill and Bo Powell. The assistant director is Ashlee Bell Caress and the stage manager is Jacob Price."
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Paul Myrvold