Stephen Rea in Kicking a Dead Horse
The Almeida Theatre presents the Abbey Theatre (Ireland) production in association with The Public Theater (New York) of

Kicking a Dead Horse

Written and Directed By Sam Shepard with Stephen Rea
Ticket prices: £6 - £25
Fri 5 Sep 2008 - Sat 20 Sep 2008

Sam Shepard's striking play tells the story of one man's quest for authenticity.


The world premiere of Kicking a Dead Horse continues the Abbey & Almeida Theatres' ongoing exploration of Shepard's work and the commitment to Shepard as one of the most important playwrights of his generation.


Shepard wrote Kicking a Dead Horse especially for the Abbey Theatre and the celebrated Irish actor, Stephen Rea, who stars in this production.


The Almeida last produced Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss to great critical acclaim.


Kicking a Dead Horse is currently playing at the Public Theatre New York.


Performances are Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 6pm


There are also matinee performances on Saturdays at 3pm


There are no Monday performances


Running Time: 70 mins no interval


Download the production programme as a PDF document


Almeida Projects resource pack aimed at teachers and students also available - click here

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Kicking a Dead Horse - The Cast
Stephen Rea


Stephen Rea

Academy Award nominated Stephen Rea has had a distinguished career spanning film, theatre and television. He has performed extensively at the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Court as well as Dublin’s Gate Theatre and Field Day Theatre Company, of which he was a co-founder.  In London he was most recently seen in Harold Pinter’s Celebration at the Albery Theatre marking the author’s 75th birthday.  He has previously been directed by Sam Shepard in Geography of a Horse Dreamer at the Royal Court, and he himself directed Shepard’s Little Ocean at the Hampstead Theatre.
His many feature film credits include The Crying Game, Pret-a-Porter, Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy, The End of the Affair, V for Vendetta, Interview with a Vampire, Breakfast on Pluto and most recently, Jumper.  In 2007 he appeared on BBC 4 in Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and also on C4 in Harold Pinter’s Celebration.

Stephen is an Associate Artist of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Joanne Crawford

Joanne Crawford

Joanne Crawford’s theatre credits include Reflex (Zulu Theatre), One (Pan Pan), Master Shuttlefate (Angel Exit), Petty Sessions (Red Kettle), Can't PayWon't Pay, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Sister Mary Ignatius (Blind Mirror). Her film and television credits include Pure Mule, Becoming Jane, Murphy's Law, The Clinic, Chosen, The Actors, Omagh, Maybe If You, The Hard Way, Too Many Sandwiches, The Puppet, The First Television and Jane by the Sea.
Creative Team

Sam Shepard - Director 

Sam Shepard has written over 45 plays including Simpatico, True West, Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, and The Late Henry Moss, directed by Michael Attenborough at the Almeida in 2006 as its European premiere. Eleven of his plays have won Obie Awards; his other awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child and the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Paris, Texas.  As an actor he has appeared in numerous films, including The Right Stuff for which he was nominated for an Oscar, as well as The Accidental Husband, The Assassination of Jesse James, Days of Heaven, Resurrection, Raggedy Man, Frances, Country, Fool for Love, Crimes of the Heart, Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias, Bright Angel, Defenseless, Voyager, Thunderheart, The Pelican Brief, Safe Passage, Hamlet and Don’t Come Knocking
Brien Vahey - Design 

Brien is an Associate Artist with the Abbey Theatre where his work includes A Number and A Whistle in the Dark.  He has worked extensively in Ireland, England and America including design for Three Sisters, The Hostage (Druid), An Ideal Husband (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Antigone (Field Day), Three Days of Rain (Rough Magic), Sea Change (Riverside Studios), The Bells, A Doll’s House (Leicester Haymarket), Cocktail Party, Portraits (West End), A Moon for the Misbegotten (West End and Broadway), The Shadow of a Gunman (Broadway) and the opera, La buona figliola (Buxton Opera Festival).   His television and film work includes Glenroe, Nighthawks, Fair City, Upwardly Mobile, On Home Ground, Making the Cut/DDU, Hell for Leather, Horse, After Midnight, The Battle of Inchion and Excalibur
John Comiskey -  Lighting Design
John Comiskey has worked on set, lighting and video for productions including Hamlet,The Shape of Metal, The Drawer Boy, The Doctor’s Dilemma (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), Mermaids and Hanging on by a Thread (CoisCéim), Only The Lonely  (Birmingham Rep) and Copenhagen (Rough Magic) for which he won an Irish Times/ESB Theatre Award.  He has designed lighting for numerous theatre companies including CoisCéim, Rough Magic, Prime Cut, Druid, Siamsa Tire, Barabbas, Galloglass, Operating Theatre (of which he was also an artistic director) and two performance works by James Coleman.  His work as a director includes The Well (Abhann Productions) and Gavin Friday's Ich Liebe Dich, both for the Dublin Theatre Festival, and two years as production director of Riverdance - the Show (Abhann Productions) worldwide.  His film and television work includes directing the award-winning Hit and Run, The Eurovision Song Contest 1995, Nighthawks, Today Tonight, The Blackbird and the Bell, and Fair City.
Joan Bergin - Costume Design
Joan Bergin established herself as in-house designer for Focus Theatre, working on productions including A Doll’s House, Collier’s Friday Night and A Month in the Country. She has also worked with Noel Pearson on many productions ranging from The Pirates of Penzance to Brian Friel’s Translations on Broadway.  Recent design work includes the Pinter Season and Billy Roche’s Poor Beast in the Rain at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, and  Family Stories and Teja Verdes with b*spoke.  Her film work includes My Left Foot, The Field, In the Name of the Father and The Boxer.  Recent work includes Reign of Fire, Veronica Guerin and The Prestige. Television highlights include Roddy Doyle’s Family and David Copperfield.  She received a Best Costume Designer Emmy Award for her work on The Tudors (American Showtime). 
Articles and Reviews

'Rea's performance is typically compelling'
Sam Marlowe, The Times, 11 Sep 2008

'The piece is filled with the indefinable poetry of loss... Rea's performance captures supremely the character's mix of the elegiac and the absurd.'

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 11 Sep 2008

'Wonderful writing: tough, poetic and funny... Rea is a joy'

Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 12 Sep 2008  

Reviews from the Abbey Theatre, Dublin
‘fascinating new play…. Compellingly performed by Stephen Rea'
Irish Times on Kicking a Dead Horse
‘The play is classic Shepard, rueful and paradoxic and the ending offering the blackest of comedy’
Sunday Independent on Kicking a Dead Horse
‘[Shepard’s] gift for language is as powerful as ever’
The Sunday Times on Kicking a Dead Horse
‘Rea is captivating...the writing is razor sharp’

Irish Independent

Arts Council England ASP Group