THE STORY: The play begins with a man alone in a desert landscape digging a grave. Hobart Struther's horse has just dropped dead. He stands there in the vast open desert trying to figure out what to do about his predicament. Every once in a while, he gives the corpse an audible kick for having let him down. Struther made his fortune buying paintings for $20 from Wyoming saloons and reselling them for millions. In the throes of some midlife crisis, he has abandoned his wife and his posh life for a "grand sojourn"—what will turn out to be a doomed "quest for authenticity." In an eighty-minute monologue, the former art dealer laments his situation. He engages in a debate between his cynical side and the ingenuous one. He discusses what path brought him here in the first place, the fate of his marriage, his career, politics and eventually the nature of the universe.
"It is wonderful to hear these fresh words from one of our true American
playwrights." —CurtainUp. "The brilliance of KICKING A DEAD HORSE is in the infinite reverberations Shepard extracts from his simple metaphor." —TheaterMania.com. "This deeply instinctual and intuitive artist here seems to be giving fullest rein to his intellect." —NY Times.