Saints & Poets Theater - Pittsburgh, PA
Mark Whitehead, Executive & Artistic Director
31Conestoga Street - Pittsburgh, PA  15204-2001 - USA - (412) 378-0331 -

The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard
March 4-21, 2004
'The Late Henry Moss' by Sam Shepard
Poster Illustration: Rick Bach - Poster Layout and Design: Michael Moran

Earl Moss - Richard Keitel
Ray Moss - Patrick Jordan
Esteban - John Gresh
Taxi - Dave Mansueto
Henry Moss - Mark C. Thompson
Conchalla - Elena Passarello

Producer/Director/Sound Designer - Mark Whitehead
Stage Manager - Quentin Nash Sagers
Set Designer - Lara Lampenfield
Set Designer - Rick Bach
Lighting Designer - Bryan Miller
Costume Designer - Marissa Miskanin
Props - Melissa Gilpin
Technical Director - Jonathan Geller
Master Carpenter - David Higginbotham
Production Intern - Jonathan King

Supported by grants from
The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative
The PA Partners in the Arts through ProArts

John Gresh, Dave Mansueto, Elena Passarello, and Mark C. Thompson in 'The Late Henry Moss'

“Sam Shepard's tense drama of family and personal dysfunction flashes back and forth between the present concerns of his surviving sons and the days leading up to Henry's death… But don't mistake this for a traditional murder mystery. Shepard mixes realistic dramatic elements of contemporary American life -- alcoholism, domestic abuse, sibling rivalry and parental abandonment -- with myths both spiritual and personal. As the play goes on, it's less and less apparent which parts are flashback and which might be occurring only in the characters' imaginations or a parallel spiritual universe. It's a compelling blend of machismo and mysticism, whether it's Elena Passarello's alluring and mysterious Conchalla leading Mark C. Thompson's alcoholically addled Henry Moss in a seductive dance, or Patrick Jordan and Richard Keitel going at each other as Henry's now-grown sons Ray and Earl… Director and producer Mark Whitehead couldn't have assembled a more supportive cast to realize Shepard's investigation into the individual ways in which we shape reality and memory to our own needs and comfort levels… Committed Shepard fans will find that the terrain and issues of The Late Henry Moss put them in the same territory explored in True West, Lie of the Mind and Curse of the Starving Class. For those meeting him for the first time, it's a solid introduction.”
- Alice Carter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Elena Passarello and Mark C. Thompson in 'The Late Henry Moss'

“If you've seen any Shepard before there's not much new here in the way of character or meaning. But what is new, and what I enjoyed tremendously, is Shepard making use of some interesting stage conventions. A lot of this play takes place in memory and Shepard -- following the lead of Tom Stoppard -- places both time periods on stage at the same time, including a really remarkable Act I curtain line. Director Mark Whitehead plays up as much subtlety as is possible and rides the Shepard bombast wave when he must. A tightly paced production, the outing features uniformly top-notch performance from Richard Keitel, Patrick Jordan, Dave Mansueto and Mark C. Thompson. Also worth noting is the humanity that John Gresh and the impossibly beautiful Elena Passarello bring to their characters…”
- Ted Hoover, Pittsburgh City Paper

Richard Keitel and Patrick Jordan in 'The Late Henry Moss'

“Thank goodness that in the midst of all this guilt and grieving, there's some comic relief, which director Whitehead plays to its fullest potential. There's a cheerful Mexican neighbor with an accent that's a dead ringer for Speedy Gonzalez (John Gresh); a happy-go-lucky taxi driver (Dave Mansueto); and a mysterious Native American woman who likes to get drunk in the bathtub (Elena Passarello). These three actors -- particularly Mansueto, who embodies the cheerful goofball, fidgety and with a Texas twang -- do as much work as Thompson, Keitel and Jordan in grounding the play in its characters… Ultimately The Late Henry Moss lives in the scenes between father and son, or brother and brother. Thompson's gravelly voice seems to expand his compact frame, although in these final days his Moss is dwarfed by both his sons. Patrick Jordan gives us a Ray whose anger and self-loathing is palpable and terrifying… Keitel provides a good foil to this just-restrained fury… In these scenes, one might be inclined to think that fight choreographer Shaun Rolly is almost too good at his job -- some of the physical violence between the brothers, particularly in the second act, looks quite real and is not for the fainthearted, despite the absence of fake blood or any similar gimmick… When the lights go down for the last time, though, the audience is left with a play that is a powerful and complicated portrayal of alcoholism's effect on a family.”
- Heather Bowlan, Pulp

Dave Mansueto and Patrick Jordan in 'The Late Henry Moss'  Dave Mansueto and Patrick Jordan in 'The Late Henry Moss'

“(The) magical level is emphasized by Bach's long mural of those skeletons used as votive figures in Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations -- the same motif used on the classy poster and program cover. Director/producer Mark Whitehead, founder of Saints & Poets, has fulfilled the first duty of a director by providing a fine cast. Richard Keitel's Earl impressively descends into sodden fear, while Patrick Jordan keeps his smirk largely in check as the jittery, explosive Ray. John Gresh is sweetly comic as the maternal neighbor, Esteban… The succulent Elena Passarello plays the mysterious Conchalla… Her imperturbable gaiety lights the play. Saints & Poets is a young company with an irregular life. With this strong production it establishes itself as a player in Pittsburgh's off-Cultural District alternative theater scene.”
- Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Richard Keitel and Patrick Jordan in 'The Late Henry Moss'

Mark C. Thompson and Dave Mansueto in 'The Late Henry Moss'
The Late Henry Moss Photos by Bryan Miller