The Great God Pan

Mainstage Theater

Tues & Wed @ 7, Thu & Fri @ 8, Sat @ 2:30 & 8, Sun @ 2:30 & 7:30
Added Weds 2:30pm mat on Jan 9th

Written by Amy Herzog
Directed by Carolyn Cantor

Jamie's life in Brooklyn seems just fine: a beautiful girlfriend, a budding journalism career, and parents who live just far enough away. But when a possible childhood trauma comes to light, lives are thrown into a tailspin. Unsettling and deeply compassionate, The Great God Pan tells the intimate tale of what is lost and won when a hidden truth is unloosed into the world.

Becky Ann Baker — Cathy
Peter Friedman — Doug
Sarah Goldberg — Paige
Keith Nobbs — Frank
Jeremy Strong — Jamie
Joyce Van Patten — Polly
Erin Wilhelmi — Joelle

Scenic Design: Mark Wendland
Costume Design: Kaye Voyce
Lighting Design: Japhy Weideman
Sound Design: Darron L West
Production Stage Manager: Cole P. Bonenberger

Coming to see The Great God Pan? Please consider bringing a donation of non-perishable food in cans, boxes or bags for Playwrights Horizons’ Annual Food Drive to benefit City Harvest. Click here for a list of the most-needed items, listed under the "Food Drives" tab.

Special thanks to the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation for its generous support of The Great God Pan.

Photos of (1) Keith Nobbs and Jeremy Strong; (2) Peter Friedman, Becky Ann Baker, and Jeremy Strong; (3) Joyce Van Patten and Jeremy Strong; (4) Sarah Goldberg and Erin Wilhelmi by Joan Marcus.


More Reviews


Tim Sanford and Amy Herzog

Tim: How did you come to write the play? Amy: Well first of all I set the play in the town I grew up in. And one of the memories on the list that you referred to is a memory I have of my grandmother swinging on this vine that the older kids would swing from at this creek and she fell in. So there’s a grounding in my childhood in that sensory experience and my own mythology of my childhood that I think is a sort of foundation of the play. It’s hard to say where exactly the plot came from; when I was twelve or thirteen I went through a period of being really obsessed with recovered memory. It was really in the news a lot at that time. There were a lot of sensationalist stories of recovered memories of sexual abuse.

A Day with Erin Wilhelmi

The wonderful Erin Wilhelmi was kind enough to give us a little glimpse of what it's like on a two-show day of THE GREAT GOD PAN backstage with her and the rest of the cast, with her own captions on the photos!

Playwrights' Perspectives

Amy Herzog on "The Great God Pan"

Does everyone think of childhood as inherently frightening? I believe I had a happy childhood and yet most of my concrete memories have a tinge of fear.


Tim Sanford on "The Great God Pan"

Relativism. When I was in graduate school, this buzzword seemed to chase me around from subject to subject. The relativity of time translated to the relativism of memory which translated to the relativism of truth and identity. The "Theater of the Absurd" reflected this slippery unknowability of existence in aesthetic form. But I always had trouble with this notion. It seemed to me the elusiveness and fluidity of identity did not necessarily indicate the absence of identity. Everything I knew about the endeavor of dramatic action screamed the opposite. Drama is uniquely poised as an art form to represent the bubbling forth of submerged secrets onto the surface. It's called subtext.


The American Voice: Behind the Scenes

"Freud has no rivals among his successors because they think he wrote science, when in fact he wrote art." –Camille Paglia. When Freud popularized the concept of the unconscious mind at the turn of the last century, he sort of turned over a massive punch bowl at the stuffy cocktail party we were having. Our lives would never be, will never be, the same. However much we, in the day-to-day, choose or don't choose to subscribe to modern psychological concepts, we can't not be aware that every moment, every interaction, is colored by a now-instinctive knowledge that the people around us are far more complex than we can possibly make out, driven by the chemicals, experiences and non-rational impulses that one accumulates, voluntarily or not, simply by traveling through the world. As W.H. Auden famously said of Freud, "to us he is no more a person now but a whole climate of opinion under whom we conduct our different lives."


Backstory: Not So Total Recall

Early in Showtime's lovable-serial-killer series DEXTER, the show's titular psycho discovers a pool of blood and suddenly recalls the decades' buried memory of his mother's brutal slaying, the long-invisible engine of his murderous compulsions. Without the show's high camp style, its audience might fail to empathize with a murderer or forgive his loved ones' ignoring the giant bag of knives in the trunk. But no such assistance is required for most of us to accept the extraordinary mental mechanics at Dexter Morgan's core. Westerners take it for granted that a memory of severe trauma can be repressed for years, invisibly shaping one's neuroses, until resurfacing either on its own or with the help of a therapist.