Sam Shepard’s “The Late Henry Moss” was first produced in 2000. It’s taken more than a decade for the play to receive its Los Angeles premiere.
That may be for obvious reasons. Although director David Fofi’s current staging at Theatre 68 is often inspired, the play remains a motivationally murky muddle that falls short of the mystical weightiness it so obviously intends.
The action is set in a desolate New Mexico shack, delineated with shabby specificity by scenic designer Joel Daavid. There, viciously bickering brothers Earl (Ronnie Marmo) and Ray (Michael Blum), have gathered to mark the passing of their alcoholic wastrel father, Henry (Gary Werntz).
All are familiar Shepard archetypes, especially the boozily abusive Henry, who is lying dead in an upstage bed while his sons discuss, among other fractious subjects, whether the old man is actually starting to smell or not.