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Review: LONE STAR at Monticello Opera House

Review: LONE STAR at Monticello Opera House

Behind a bar in Texas, three men think about life, cars and that one woman

Is a broken story still a story? As brothers Roy and Ray talk at the back of Angel's Bar after midnight in Maynard, Texas, Roy regales Ray with yet another round of a tale he has told before, but Ray interrupts him.

"You broke my story!" complains Roy.

Roy has stories to tell ... lots of them ... over and over, but his brother, Ray, needs to beware of breaking a story. Ray has been breaking things for a while, it appears, including his "football knee," which kept him from being able to enlist like Roy did.

This one-act comedy by James McLure played on Broadway for 69 performances in 1979, but in a way it is just as at home in a studio created out of the banquet hall at the Monticello Opera House.

Songs like "Don't Fear the Reaper" pipe in as the audience is seated.

The back of Angel's Bar could be any rural bar in any small Texas town in the early 1970s. The audience could almost sense the muted murmurs from inside the bar, the activity taking place as a backdrop to two brothers reacquainting themselves with each other.

A "Kilroy was here" painted onto the wall and a neon "beer babes" sign set the scene; you can almost hear the gravel crunching under the feet of bar patrons and smell the languid Texas air.

Roy (Caleb Goodman) has been back in Texas from Vietnam for two years and finds himself right where he dreamed about being while deployed: at Angel's Bar, getting drunk -- again. He reminisces about the things he loved most: his wife Elizabeth and his pink Thunderbird.

His brother, Ray (Freddie Schrader), is along for the ride. The trio will be joined later in their evening by Cletis (Brannan Salter).

Ray's face was a star of the show as he processed what he was (or was not) going to disclose to his brother. Somehow, Roy and Ray made a romp through a bag of snacks fun, especially when they deconstructed a Mars bar.

"Are you drunk?" asks Ray. "Is it Friday night?" responds Roy. These two brothers seem to be sharing a well-worn routine, but as the evening unfolds, events and pieces of shared information start to chip away at the routine and eventually lead to some challenging truths that reflect just how different Ray's post-Vietnam world is.

Fellow Maynard resident and Angel's Bar patron Cletis, when he joins the conversation, expresses himself through body language in a way that makes it seem a leprechaun could have made it to South Texas. He's the counterpoint to Ray's machismo, with his pocket protector and hardware store uniform.

A lot of truths get uncovered once the beer flows, the night grows later and the inhibitions drop. The parts of these brothers that are caricature in nature are outweighed by their humanity and the voids each one is trying to fill.

The show is billed as a comedy, and there are plentiful laughs, but this cast, in this version, also mixes a smattering of pathos into the mix as the three men sort out their lives.

To hear Roy and Ray talk, they're awfully glad they're doing the "sorting out" in Texas rather than Oklahoma. Go to this play and you'll be glad you are in Monticello.

The play is directed by Barbie Nettles.

If you go, know that you'll be up close and personal in an intimate (yet appropriately socially distanced) space. Be patient with the laid-back crowd that lets the play start a little late because a ticket holder hasn't shown up and don't worry about running out of libations -- the bar stays open throughout the whole show.

For ticket information, please visit this link.

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From This Author - Paula Kiger

Paula believes her Twitter bio says it best: Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. She works in digital marketing and business-to-business publishing, LOVES theatre, and hopes everyone adopts he... (read more about this author)

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Is a broken story still a story? As brothers Roy and Ray talk at the back of Angela??s Bar after midnight in Maynard, Texas, Roy regales Ray with yet another round of a tale he has told before. Where will their story take them by the end of the night?