Lone Star closes out Advent theatre season

Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).

Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
Executive Staff

The stage is set. A bench comprising  a wooden plank and two paint buckets stand to one side; a detached car seat mirrors it. Political posters, placing the scene in 1968, hang on the walls. Overhead are two billboards, one of which ominously states, “In 8 weeks you can change your body,” and then scrawled in handwriting: “In 12 you can be dead.”

Lone Star, by James McLure, follows the story of Roy, played by Nathaniel Klein (C’22), a veteran of the Vietnam War, as he attempts to regain some semblance of normalcy in his hometown. The play revolves around the relationship between Roy and his brother, Ray, played by Evans Smith (C’22), and the unravelling of Roy’s life upon the arrival of Cletis, the local hardware store owner, played by Dillon Sheehan (C’22).

“Dillon is my roommate and best friend at Sewanee, and in the play he’s my mortal enemy,” said Klein. “There were more than a few times where we had to be wrangled, but by the end of the process the three of us had become so comfortable in our characters that we were ad-libbing at will.”

Photos by Matt Hembree (C’20).

Klein performed in his first show his freshman year of high school. But “one of [his] favourite experiences” was writing and acting in a one-man show, Morningstar, in the summer after his junior year. Since then, he has dabbled in different branches of theatre, with directing, playwriting, and stage design being his favourites. Since arriving in Sewanee, he played Herman in the semester’s production of Cabaret.

Lone Star is the first proper play that he has performed in in over a year, and according to Klein, it was “a ton of fun to get back on stage”.

Directed by Greer King (C’21) and Liam Corley (C’20), the show runs for approximately an hour and blends comedy and gravity almost seamlessly together. Corley also designed the scenery while King designed the costumes, which, she said, “added a whole new layer to [their] involvement in the show.”

Photos by Matt Hembree (C’20).

The original plan was to stage the play mid-semester, but after its conception, it soon developed into a fully fledged production. With less than a month of rehearsal, the show had to develop fairly quickly, which was relatively easy, according to Klein, because “all of [them] knew each other from somewhere, whether that was acting together in Cabaret or working in the scene shop.” The preparation culminated in two shows last week, both of which were well received.

“Although Lone Star is a comedy, there is a deeper theme that explores how life changes and how difficult it can be to adjust to change, especially for the main character, Roy, who served time in Vietnam and becomes lost when he comes home,” said King. “Overall, I would like for our audiences to come to some realization of their own about their relationship with life’s twists and turns and the marching on of time.”