“That’s a savage thing to do.”
Mom is genuine. She has become what society tells her she should be, and wants what society tells her she should want. This is who she has been for a long time. The love she feels for her sons is the love demanded by the role in which she’s cast, and for her model she’s taken the artifice of Hollywood, the New West. It is a sort of love without genuine connection. Psychologically, Mom has been distant from her sons for a long time, maybe their whole lives. Until recently, she’s been physically distant from them as well. She and her sons don’t really know each other; she knows the roles they’re supposed to play, and the role she’s supposed to play in relation to them.
So Mom represents the consequences of becoming part of the New West – the world of conformity, illusion, commerce, respectability, and artificiality. She’s created a sitcom home and wants a sitcom life. She’s a nice person, sure. She likes to travel. She likes a clean, antiseptic, well-ordered house. She even likes art, maybe. At least she knows the names of some famous artists.
What’s the price of belonging to the New West? Mom moves through her life as if in a dream. She’s medicated, passive, barely living by Lee’s standards. Maybe she’s gotten worse over time. Maybe the New West holds you down and gradually suffocates the life out of you. This is what Lee sees when Mom suddenly appears, and it causes him to wonder whether she is what Austin is becoming. And if Lee is becoming Austin, is this his future as well?
Absurd, surrealist, powerless – the introduction of Mom in True West creates a contrast that brings all of Shepard’s themes into clear focus. An alien to her sons, who are alien to her. And now an alien even in her own home, as the New West is violently destroyed by the Old West’s re-introduction.
About CINDY PASTORIUS
Cindy Pastorius is thrilled to be playing the very anesthetized Mom in her first show with Post Productions. A 15-year theatre veteran on and behind the stage, her previous roles include Frances in Jenny's House of Joy, Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooge and Marley: A Christmas Carol, the Bank Examiner in It's A Wonderful Life, and chorus roles in Les Miserables, Aida, and Annie.
(Photo credit: Martin Ouellette of Churchwood Pictures, with Kieran Potter)