Playbills/Posters
 

 
Synopsis:
Byron and Ames are old friends, re-united by mutual desperation. Over whiskey on a hot summer’s night, they sit, reflect and bicker until fifty years of love, friendship and rivalry are put to the test at the barrel of a gun.
 
Performances:

Abbey Theatre presentation at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin Ireland. Previews began February 24, 2009 with official premiere on March 3, running through April 4. Starring Stephen Rea and Sean McGinley

Second Abbey Theatre presentation in Dublin from November 13 to November 28, 2009. Starring Stephen Rea and Sean McGinley.

American premiere, presented by Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company. Staged at the Linda Gross Theater in NYC running from January 9 through March 21, 2010, with an official opening on January 27. Starring Stephen Rea and Sean McGinley.

 
Publicity Photos - Abbey Theatre - Dublin
 
 
 
Abbey Theatre Premiere Party Photos - February 3, 2009
 
 
 
Publicity Photos - Linda Gross Theatre - NYC
 
 
 
NYC Premiere Party Photos - January 27, 2010
 
 
Reviews for the Abbey Theatre production:

Helen Meany, The Guardian:
This sketchy, often poignant, meditation on aging and loss was written specifically for these two actors, and its pleasure lies in their interaction. Bound together by loneliness as much as shared memories, they are as uncomfortably yoked as any of Beckett's tragicomic duos. Designer Brien Vahey's set - a shack with a wooden porch - does not reach the side walls, drawing attention to the fact that these characters are on a stage, reluctantly metaphorical. Fay's pacing allows eloquent silences to build between words, reminding us that the script's insistence that what you see is what you get is not the whole story.

John McKeown, The Independent:
The great charm of Shepard's writing is its allusiveness and delicacy in spare, man-eat-man situations. Byron and Ames work through their problems with each other with crude language, explosions of temper, physical violence and a shotgun; providing some comic moments. But it's the more reflective talk in between that gradually builds up the play's poetic weight...  Shepard's unsentimental approach is perfectly tailored to Rea and McGinley's gift for dry, low-key acting. And the effect is all the more powerful for being unfussy and understated. When the two characters share a blanket to watch the moon, it feels genuine...  Jimmy Fay's directing, light throughout, brings a quietly grandiose note in at the play's culminating moment, as the two sit witnessing the eclipse with a childlike wonder. They may be a couple of displaced sexagenarians, but what's clear is they belong in their bit of the cosmos.

Peter Crawley, The Irish Times:
Jimmy Fay’s unforced production allows echoes of a Beckettian inheritance, where behaviour is similarly clownish and poignant, and strikes an intelligent balance between a nameless American frontier and a more identifiably Irish stage tradition. But Shepard’s figures are his own, their memories and experiences embroidered with the distinctive detail of airless greyhound bus rides and religious pilgrims in Chimayó.

James McMahon, RTE Entertainment:
Combining the work of one of America's foremost playwright's with the premier league of Irish acting talent has 'must see' written all over it. "Ages Of The Moon" is one of those theatrical endeavours that comes along every so often. How often have we reflected on our lives, wishing we were young again, and so recreate situations that seek to alter the timeline of our existence?... Shepard's play is not without its humour and the many one-word responses regularly hit the mark in the one-upmanship stakes. Both Rea and McGinley relish the opportunity to entertain the audience, without forcing the issue. Yet they are equally effective in eliciting the pain and anger of two men who are forced to consider their worth to society. Director Jimmy Fay guides them along effortlessly, against the backdrop of Brien Vahey's set that gives character to this American story.  Sam Shepard was in the audience and would have witnessed a standing ovation at the play's end. The unified response appeared to be genuine - a testament to the efforts of all concerned.

Darragh Doyle (Blog):
It takes a lot of skill for two actors to sit alone on a stage with a minimum of props, a lot of dialogue and a script that demands both silence and awkwardness to be as big a part as the action that follows. The freedom that Jimmy Fay as director gives each actor makes what happens all the more watchable and enthralling...  This play is hard to define. It's not a theatrical "experience", it's not a life changing event, it's not actually all that serious.  Perhaps a more skilful critic could draw themes of contemplation, self-realisation and nobility, which all exist in their own place, but overall it's the decay of people, of opportunity to connect and of time that I left the theatre with. Is it entertaining? I prefer the best of the word 'interesting' to describe it...  Whatever "Ages of the Moon" is not is eclipsed by the opportunity to see two extremely talented and full-of-presence actors push this script and the thoughts of the playwright into your brain, to watch them in an intimate setting and see just how well chosen they are for the roles and how skilfully Shepard has woven this tale around them.

Colin Murphy, The Independent:
The play is softly melancholic, with a streak of bleakness and despair, and a countervailing seam of hope and humanity. It is a gentle entertainment, in which the meandering earlier scenes, which are dominated by a sometimes-awkward burlesque comedy, lead to the payoff of a closing sequence of simple, stark beauty and emotional clarity.

Jade O'Callaghan, Totally Dublin:
Written specially for leading Irish actors Seán McGinley and Stephen Rea, "Ages of the Moon" is a gruffly poignant and darkly funny play... "Ages of the Moon" follows a similar theme to some of Shepard's earlier work, featuring as it does a hot dusty southern night, a lot of whiskey, a soundtrack comprising of slide guitar and a character having woman troubles, all of which are recognisable elements from the likes of "Kicking a Dead Horse" and the film "Paris, Texas" to name but two. This play is about memory, fragility and friendship. The characters are ultimately kids of the sixties and we are presented with them fifty years on from that hippy-dippy era of hope and love and peace, and we learn if their original dreams and hopes ever became reality. As such audiences can undoubtedly expect a certain degree of fraility and despair in this exploration of deep friendship. Stephen Rea has also suggested that the Beckettian rhythm which has been ascribed to Shepard's work lends a great sense of sensuality to the play.

 
Reviews for the NYC off-Broadway production:

William Wolf, Wolf Entertainment Guide:
Sam Shepard’s latest, “Ages of the Moon,” alternately funny and sad, is another excursion into the world of men who have reason to bond but also are at odds with one another. The playwright has a gift of taking spare set-ups and endowing them with greater meaning as a result of his acute dialogue, vivid characterizations and arresting visualization...  Shepard guarantees the kind of theatricality that grips the attention of audiences, and director Jimmy Fay obviously knows how to maximize what the playwright has given him. The actors are both extraordinary, a show unto themselves, and their performances add to the compelling nature of Shepard’s vision of these odd characters.

Brendan Lemon, The Financial Times:
In the best of his more than 45 plays, and even in his second-tier stuff, such as Ages, Shepard is less unrelievedly bleak than Beckett. Also funnier: I'll not soon forget Rea, who is splendid, and his look of gruff satisfaction after he has dealt with a finicky ceiling fan.

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News:
This latest work feels far removed from the author's signature Wild West. Byron has traveled for days to Ames' humble home in the middle of nowhere to listen to his pal lament about how he torched his marriage by cheating on his wife. Over shots of bourbon and some Beckett-like silences, they continue to reminisce for 75 minutes. Along the way, they rant and rave, rankle each other, reconcile and confront their place in the world as they anticipate the big show in the sky. Rea has the showier part — a lonely guy on the edge with an itchy trigger finger who's apt to shoot anything that moves. McGinley is the straight man, but he has a touching late revelation about his wife. Guided by director Jimmy Fay, both sink fully into their roles and are very entertaining. In the Shepard canon, "Moon" isn't so much a giant leap as a modest and thoughtful next step.

Susan Breslow, The Examiner:
“Ages of the Moon” opens on a spare set: A brick wall. A table. Two chairs. The two men. Their bourbon. And their regrets. In the course of 75 minutes (no intermission), these two spar, reminisce, fight, make up, shoot up an appliance, and ultimately wait for an eclipse to close out another lonely night. Thanks to masterful performances by the players and Shepard’s insight into the male psyche, the audience is kept rapt through the drinking and camaraderie, the competition and the concord, and the randy sex talk filled more with regret than boastfulness.

Anonymous blogger:
Over the years, Shepard and David Mamet have been in an arm-wrestling contest for the title of America’s most macho playwright. But Shepard, now 66 and four years older than Mamet, seems to be mellowing. Although "Ages of the Moon" has the usual share of drinking, cussing, sex talk and, of course Shepard’s trademark outbursts of violence, there’s a tender ruefulness to this play... "Ages of the Moon" deals with aging, death, the ambiguity of memory and the hope that love can ease the inevitable approach of the final eclipse...  The two men sit on a porch and reminisce, fall out, make up, fall out again. They’re the literary and spiritual sons of Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon in "Waiting for Godot", only Shepard’s guys are backed up by a soundtrack of country music. The song “Have You Ever Been Lonely” is playing as the audience enters the theater.

David, Sheward, Backstage:
The dialogue starts out as mundane, almost boring, but Shepard skillfully draws us into Byron and Ames' stark universe of unclear recollections and blighted horizons, where even the moon is in shadow. By the final fadeout, we've crossed over from drab day to poetic night. Director Jimmy Fay and his two-man cast slowly build the tension so that the shift from naturalistic bickering to surrealistic dreaming is barely noticeable. Stephen Rea and Seán McGinley give these old coots, like a pair of hermit crabs, the necessary crusty shells while slowly exposing their soft underbellies.

Toby Zinman, Broad Street View:
With the publication of his new collection of short stories, "Day Out of Days", a revival of "A Lie of the Mind" about to open in New York, and :Ages of the Moon", just transferred to New York from the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Sam Shepard is clearly back. This is not the return of “the rock ’n’ roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth” who blazed across the off-Broadway sky 40 years ago, but an author in later middle age, in a meditative mood, ruminating on life, hilariously and painfully...  His reunion of two aging Western geezers is classic American dramatic metaphor - a long day’s journey into night if ever was one.

Marilyn Stasio, Variety:
Helmer Jimmy Fay wisely lets Shepard's laconic dialogue set the pace and carry the play wherever it wanders, which is not very far from the central theme of women - or "wimmen," as the regional dialect would have it. Like the moon they wait up to see, women are distant, desirable and mysterious beyond man's understanding. Shepard writes the kind of man-talk that makes men nod their heads in silent understanding, even as it makes women roll their eyes. And insofar as it bristles with manly riffs on manly topics - from the fondly recollected triumphs of one's wild youth to the indignities of one's old age - "Ages of the Moon" should score with Shepard fans.

Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg Press:
There’s more than a tip of the hat to Samuel Beckett in this show, originally commissioned by Ireland’s Abbey Theatre. Yet Shepard puts such a resonant spin on a familiar tale of male camaraderie that in just 80 minutes, Ames and Byron have gained an iconic American power beyond themselves.

Elyse Sommer, Curtainup:
While Shepard has written better plays, "Ages of the Moon" does give Rae and McGinley a great opportunity to display their versatility as actors. Both are fascinating and fun to watch. It's good to be seeing them in a theater small enough to catch every nuance of their outstanding physical performances. Director Jimmy Fay lets them talk and rant, sit stock still and break loose so that this small play has a chance to best reveal Ames' and Byron's shared and individual memories and the play's underlying text about aging and loss.

Frank Scheck, NY Post:
It's highly entertaining, thanks to generous doses of sly humor and the wonderful performances by both actors, repeating their roles in this import from Ireland's Abbey Theatre... Director Jimmy Fay's staging is properly leisurely, never making this slight, 75-minute effort seem forced.  "Ages of the Moon" is no Shepard masterpiece like "Buried Child" or "A Lie of the Mind." Rather, it reflects the mellowing perspective of a playwright aging with humor and grace.

Michael Sommers, Newjerseynewsroom:
Sam Shepard is writing in an autumnal mood lately, what with "Kicking a Dead Horse" in 2008 and now his new "Ages of the Moon," both featuring Stephen Rea as a fellow ruefully looking back on his life... Not an especially dynamic or deeply profound work, "Ages of the Moon" gracefully considers mortality, regret, friendship and eternal fascination with the opposite sex. Shepard writes of these serious matters with folksy ease so the conversation naturally rambles and eddies like a country stream.

Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press:
The dialogue is tangy and twangy, particularly as delivered by its two fine actors, Stephen Rea and Sean McGinley, who first played these roles last year in Dublin at the Abbey Theatre. Shepard has a way of packing a lot into the often elliptical conversation, revealing character with just a turn of phrase and, in the process, delivering a surprising amount of laughs... Jimmy Fay has staged the play with extraordinary precision, but the action doesn't seem forced... "Ages of the Moon" may not have the ambition of such Shepard classics as "Buried Child," "Fool for Love" or "A Lie of the Mind," but it is a tantalizing appetizer for what one hopes will be the playwright's next project: a full, two-act evening of theater.

Sandy Macdonald, Theater Mania:
If you didn't know you'd signed on for a Sam Shepard play, you might spend the first minute of "Ages of the Moon", now at the Atlantic Theater, wondering whether you'd accidentally happened upon one of those pithy character studies about a couple of codgers in their twilight years, matching each other shot for shot as they contemplate the imminence of death. Well, you have. But it is a Shepard play, so you can expect some freaky detours and the occasional depth charge. Also, sly humor - lots and lots of it... It wouldn't do to mistake the imposed limits of this chamber play under Jimmy Fay's astute direction - for lack of ambition. It's as if the author intentionally kept his fecund imagination in check this time around in order to get down to basics and keep his eye on the kind of stock-taking that's inevitable during the closing chapters of life.

Ben Brantley, NY Times:
Longtime fans of Mr. Shepard should definitely see this play. It is a poignant and honest continuation of themes that have always been present in the work of one of this country’s most important dramatists, here reconsidered in the light and shadow of time passed. But as skilled as Mr. Rea and Mr. McGinley are, the show doesn’t exert that unsettling visceral charge you associate with Mr. Shepard at his best, and I don’t think it’s entirely the playwright’s fault. Mr. Fay would seem to be trying to summon the sensibility of that greatest of Irish playwrights, Samuel Beckett, flavoring much of “Moon” with the rhythms of an absurd, low-key vaudeville routine. But there’s an inhibited quality here that keeps the production from catching fire. It’s neither as funny nor as fierce as it needs to be.

Judd Hollander, The Epoch Times:
Playwright Sam Shepard masterfully taps into one of man’s deepest fears, that of growing old alone, in his two-person dramedy “Ages of the Moon"...  While a quite interesting play, a play such as this lives and dies on the ability of the actors to make the script come alive. Fortunately, Rea and McGinley are quite believable in their respective roles...  Adding to the totality of the experience is Jimmy Fay’s strong direction, which allows the story to proceed at a quiet and deliberate pace, building interest as the characters introduce themselves to the audience.