The Late Henry Moss
One of the best things about the work of Sam Shepard (True West, Buried Child) is its fierce physicality. He practically created the action play, devising roles that rocket around a stage. So it’s surprising that the most satisfying scene here is its long, slow, comic opening: two sedentary brothers at a table, lost in a morass of misunderstanding. It’s when the play springs to its feet that it wobbles. Ethan Hawke and Arliss Howard are the hurting, seething sibs who reunite in the haunted New Mexico adobe where their volatile wreck of a dad has just died. This is definite Shepard territory, rife with rage, feverish with family ties and memories, pivoting toward the surreal. But while the play feels like it comes from a place of truth, it seems distended — overlong and undercooked. And although Hawke strings together lots of what you might call ”acting effects,” he never creates a cohesive character, leaving this fraternal duel lax and lopsided.