‘Buried Child’ (Vince)

'Buried Child' by Sam Shepard

From: Play

Type: Dramatic

Character: Vince is mpulsive, uncertain and eager for recognition. He also can take care of himself but doesn't know his own fragility, which comes out around his family.

Gender: Male

Age Range: 20's

Summary: When Vince brings his girlfriend, Shelly, home to meet his family, she is at first charmed by the "normal" looking farm house which she compares to a "Norman Rockwell cover or something"--that's before she actually meets his crazy family--his ranting, alcoholic grandparents and their two sons: Tilden, a hulking semi-idiot, and Bradley, who has lost one leg to a chain saw. Strangely, no one seems to remember Vince at first, and they treat him as an intruder. Eventually, however, they seem to accept him as a part of their violently dysfunctional family.

More: Buy the Play

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VINCE: I was gonna run last night. I was gonna run and keep right on running. Clear to the Iowa border. I drove all night with the windows open. The old man’s two bucks flapping right on the seat beside me. It never stopped raining the whole time. Never stopped once. I could see myself in the windshield. My face. My eyes. I studied my face. Studied everything about it as though I was looking at another man. As though I could see his whole race behind him. Like a mummy’s face. I saw him dead and alive at the same time. In the same breath. In the windshield I watched him breathe as though he was frozen in time and every breath marked him. Marked him forever without him knowing. And then his face changed. His face became his father’s face. Same bones. Same eyes. Same nose. Same breath. And his fathers face changed to his grandfather’s face. And it went on like that. Changing. Clear on back to faces I’d never seen before but still recognized. Still recognized the bones underneath. Same eyes. Same mouth. Same breath. I followed my family clear into Iowa. Every last one. Straight into the corn belt and further. Straight back as far as they’d take me. Then it all dissolved. Everything dissolved. Just like that. And that two bucks kept right on flapping on the seat beside me.

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