BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – The West Virginia Wesleyan College Department of Theatre and Dance presents the classic Sam Shepard play, “True West.”

“True West” will run October 6, 7, and 8  at 8pm in the Atkinson Black Box Theater located in the Administration Building. Performances are free, but seating is limited. 

A 1983 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this American classic explores what might spring from the demented terrain of the California landscape when sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Set in the Western United States in the early 1980s, “True West” tells the story of two estranged brothers, Austin and Lee. With Mom taking a trip to Alaska, it’s up to Austin to take care of her house. However, not everything goes to plan when his older brother, Lee, makes a surprise appearance. The intimate intensity is met with frequent comedic moments that are sure to demonstrate Sam Shepard’s brilliance in his telling of this broken family dynamic.

“True West” is directed by Derek Hess, Jackson Johnson, and Timmy Walker, who will all also act in the production as part of their senior project, with advising by Thomas Schoffler. Additionally, fight choreography is by Millie Omps, with scenic and lighting design by Keith Saine, and costume design by Technical Theatre Major Elizabeth Tweel ’23. The show is also stage managed by Tweel, with Theatre Arts and Media Communication Double-Major Anthony Damcott ‘23 as assistant stage manager, who is also serving as assistant director and fight captain. 

The cast of “True West” includes Derek Hess ’23, Theatre Arts Major, as Austin and Lee; Theatre Arts Major, Jackson Johnson ‘23, as Austin; Timmy Walker ‘23, Musical Theatre and Media Communication Double-Major, as Lee; Ellery Brown, Theatre Arts Major, as Mom; and Thomas Schoffler, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, as Saul Kimmer.

“True West” contains themes including violence, alcohol use, drug use, as well as adult language.

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2023 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan seventh in Best Value – Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu