Buried Child uncovers Xavier Theatre talent

Photo courtesy of Xavier Theatre | Senior Henry Eden, who played Vince, makes a dramatic drunken scene with first-year Holland Taylor who played Shelly. Buried Child received praise for being thought provoking and timely in the Xavier community.

As hoped, Xavier Theatre did not disappoint with its second show of 2018, Buried Child. The play takes place in rural America during the 1970s and follows a dysfunctional family with a terrible secret.

At no fault to the cast and crew, the beginning of this show is painfully slow. Watching a grumpy husband character bicker with his off-stage wife for 15 minutes for the sake of exposition while the guy next to you in the audience manspreads like there is no tomorrow is a recipe for restlessness. Thankfully, the cast trudged through the beginning and into a much more interesting plotline.

The beautiful set was comprised of rainwater trickling from the ceiling, a staircase that went on for miles and a towering fence as the backdrop. The set was complemented by an incredibly impressive cast.

Sam Martini played the Lennie Small-esque character of Tilden. Martini maintained a calm but eerie quality throughout the entire show but was still able to make for some well-timed comedic action. Aiden Dalton played the completely unnerving and detestable Bradley with no hesitation. Dalton stepped into his unhinged and abusive character with the commitment of a veteran actor.

First-year Holland Taylor as Shelly immediately struck me as a newcomer but showed great potential as she continues her theater career. Taylor did not quite embody her character as much as some of the more seasoned actors, but she had a passionate energy and dedication that I expect will make her a valuable asset to Xavier Theatre in the coming years.

Henry Eden easily stole the show as the character of Vince. Vince’s character arc is probably the most drastic and unnerving of all the unstable characters in Buried Child, and Eden did not hold back in his portrayal of Vince. Eden played a character that was easy to invest in, a character that made me feel empathetic, anxious and accepting by the end of the show. Even when Vince was smashing glass bottles in a drunken rage and cutting through mesh window screens, he was oddly likeable and sympathetic – nuances that were uncovered by Eden’s impressive performance.

Xavier Theatre’s choice to cast non-student actors in the roles of Halie, Dodge and Father Dewis was an unfortunate loss of student opportunity but ultimately the right choice for the show. Though I prefer to see Xavier shows cast entirely with students, Buried Child benefitted immensely from having older actors playing older characters, and I commend Xavier Theatre for making that presumably tough decision.

Buried Child is an emotional and twisted story that can be difficult to watch at times. But this show ultimately stretched the talents of Xavier’s theater students and expanded Xavier Theatre’s bounds for telling complicated and intense stories. I look forward to seeing the next great story Xavier Theatre tackles.

By: Hannah Paige Michels ~Campus News Editor~