One-act play. Set in the lonely
American desert badlands, home to witches garbed in
coyote skins and demons who hiss like rattlesnakes, a
dying man struggles to connect with his estranged son. A
father, who lives a mythicized past and a son who lives
in an historically isolated and therefore coldly brutal
present are locked in struggle. Neither Pop's
hell-raising passion nor Ice's emotional frigidity is
admirable or healthy, and neither can respond to a world
depicted as full of relentless, unfathomable change.
"The Holy Ghostly" is a raw-boned, early Sam Shepard
play, casting spells and incantations over the shadows
of a ghost-lit campfire. It unfolds in a free-fall of
syncopated language and haunted back-beats that propel
this spellbound one-act to its apocalyptic climax.
La Mama European Tour, 1969. Directed
by Tom O'Horgan.
New Troupe at McCarter Theater, Princeton, NJ: January
1970. Directed by Tom O'Horgan with Ben Vereen in the
role of the son.
King's Head Theatre, London: July 1973