Curtain Calls

Laundry and Bourbon & Lone Star
Plays about Texas are a genre unto themselves, obsessed with excessive heat and endless complaints about same, the consumption of prodigious amounts of alcohol and folksy chat. Their characters — named Ray or Cletis or Vernon or Hattie — are people who watch Let's Make a Deal while rambling on about the boring minutiae of their lives. Yep, plays about Texas mostly involve talk and more talk. And more talk. Central Works' pair of one-acts by James McClure fit the profile with a vengeance. In Laundry and Bourbon, Elizabeth (Megan Blue Stermer) waits hopelessly for her man to return from his wanderin' ways in his vintage T-Bird. Hattie (Amy Ukena) arrives to keep Elizabeth company and help her conceal the tragedy that is her marriage from the prying eyes of Amy Lee (Deborah Fink), the town's requisite goody two-shoes. Everybody drinks too much and says things like, “You cannot leave marriage and children up to the menfolk.” Then Hattie and Amy Lee leave, and Elizabeth waits. In Lone Star, we meet Roy (Soren Oliver), Elizabeth's wayward Vietmam-vet husband; Ray (Harry Harris), Roy's idiot brother; and Cletis (Mike Romo), Amy Lee's sexually inept Baptist husband. The guys drink beer and moon about the old days. There is the germ of an idea here: Roy's experience in 'Nam changed him to make the sameness of his hometown — which he once cherished — intolerable. But this theme is abandoned in favor of more talk about T-Birds, along with comparisons of vaginas to the Grand Canyon. I did admire the care and attention Central Works has lavished on production values (sets are by Chad Owens), and I especially appreciated Megan Blue Stermer's performance. Peter Jacobs directs. Plays Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 & 7 pm (through 4/1). 450 Geary Studio Theatre, 450 Geary, S.F. $8-12, 673-1172.

Mari Coates

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