Visit our social channels!
August 28, 2017
Review: Lone Star
Chris Loupos, Greg Pragel and Matt de Rogatis in a scene from James McLure’s “Lone Star” (Photo Credit: Loupos Photography courtesy of Jay Michaels Arts & Entertainment)

Lone Star, the James McLure play presented by Nine Theatricals and directed by Pete McElligott, is All-American beer and cigarettes and backyards. A damn funny and effective ode to dirty boys of early 1970s Texas, some just home from Vietnam, others who never left town, it’s a play about the scope of their lives, excruciating and exciting and very much of a certain place.

This place being: the backyard behind an Angel’s bar in Maynard, Texas. Roy is just back from Vietnam and drinking behind the bar, under the stars, with his brother, Ray. They shoot the shit, but the play never even veers into the theatrics of the Absurd writers, or the poetry of contemporary writers fixated on the quotidian. McLure’s text is about these boys, shooting the shit, breathing into each other so they can exhale through the other, and it’s really nice.

Each performer embodied their character with real aptitude and solid detail work. Chris Loupos, as the sheepish little brother Ray, relaxed into his character with baggy shoulders. Scared macho big bro Matt De Rogatis performed with aplomb and a nice fulfilled sense of American charm. Greg Pragel played Cletis, the awkward sorta friend who joins the brothers in the backyard, and his physical detail was phenomenal. He moved like he had some sorta strange bone disease — could it be rickets? Is rickets a thing? It really helped establish time and place, his movement patterns, in a surprise and awesome way.

If there was an issue with the show, it was the space, which took too long to capture the intimacy of the backyard behind the bar. So while the jokes kept landing, and there were some real solid jokes, the closeness and the trust the brothers had for each other was undercut by a strange sense of displacement. Part of this is a staging issue: Roy and Ray never settle into the dimensions, be it the expanse of the lone star state, or the proximity to the bar they are behind. This is a 'theatre problem' that even a story that doesn’t play with the form still has to be aware of, and I think the production ultimately solved it. When Cletis entered the stage — perhaps it was due to his movement — he navigates his space between himself and Roy (who hilariously hates him) and is able to create the shape of the backyard.

The play works because the text is sneaky and charming and, I’ll say it again, for real funny. We learn the Cletis has wrecked Roy’s prize car, and Ray has to bear the bad news. But instead, Ray tells Roy he’s been sleeping with his wife, and, gosh, I was laughing despite myself. While this could’ve been super heavy handed, it was genuinely fun - perhaps what the production feels about these kind of rough men themselves.

Event Info:

Lone Star

In Manhattan at Triad Theater

This Event already happened

See the full Event Page
Share this post to Social Media

Other Interesting Posts


Or instantly Log In with Facebook