Buried Child, drama, play, Pulitzer Prize -

Meet the Buried Child Cast: Katherine Becker as Shelly

Katherine Becker as Shelly in Buried Child

Katherine Becker is a Florida State University graduate and also had the opportunity to study at Stetson University as a Vocal Performance Major. You may have seen her in several productions in the Big Bend area, including Antigone (Antigone), Jekyll & Hyde (Elizabeth), Dracula (Lucy), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), and Arsenic and Old Lace (Elaine). She is thrilled to be making her debut at Palaver Tree Theater and so very humbled to be working with such a talented cast.

Producer's note: As a long-time student of Sam Shepard's Buried Child I was really anxious about the casting of the critical character Shelly. It HAD to be the right person. One cannot simply drop someone into that role based on availability or other conveniences. Gary Brame assured me he had the right person in mind.

Shelly IS the audience. Without her it's just some old man "lubricating the gums" and providing testament to a family's secret story. If you want that, catch almost any staged crummy tragedy that's more suited for an 80's movie of the week. If you want somebody just echoing the story line and plot intricacies, go read the Greek tragedies. They're good but they're not Shepard-level good. Without Shelly, the audience is passive; with her, she is their inquisitor, their protagonist, and their only shred of sanity. She can't be a Sam Spade nor just a romantic sidekick.

There are only two types of Shelly for me: the ones I've seen on stage or YouTube and the one that's been in my head, just out of reach, for 30 years since my teenage hands got ahold of the script. The former I've had enough of while the latter I thought would never come to life.

Enter Katie.

Katie IS Shelly. The audience's Shelly. The Shelly in my head. Katie brings our hopes into the gloomy house without trite effervescence. She knows the responsibility of the role is greater than memorizing lines, blocking, and filling space. Even before really digging in with director Gary Brame, Katie's readings showed that not only was she up to matching the responsibility but also that she was in tune with Shelly like it was her sister.

Shelly played by Katie Becker in Buried ChildAt the top of Act 3, I have the unique pleasure of relaxing on the couch "asleep" and listening to Katie and Jim exchange father-daughter-like tendernesses or frequent parries as Shelly starts down the path of truth. This dialogue comes at a critical time in the play when the audience is gasping for a little relief but is demanding to know what the hell is going on in this place. A lesser actor would have become wall art, a nice thing to look at while she hands cues to the lead. Not Katie. She matches Jim's years and years of experience, sharing the command of the stage jointly. I am so honored to have the very best seat in the house to "see" things begin the great unraveling. With just my ears, I can see the Shelly in my head that's been a stranger for so, so long.

Katie is YOU. Remember that when you come to see her in Buried Child at Palaver Tree Theater. Tickets on sale now.