Secrets and Lanais

Three plays send characters out on the porch to get inside their heads

Loncar's perfectly cast as the brassy blonde. Worman, peering out to the horizon in search of Roy's pink T-bird, floats in and out of the boozy babble, like a woman with a heavy load on her heart.

On opening night, because of the illness earlier in the day of one of the actresses, the order of the plays was reversed, putting Lone Star first. It worked. Seeing Roy's story earlier and finding out, long before the women characters do, what happens to him and his car, allows the audience into what's behind the dithery goings-on in Laundry and Bourbon. Also, this time around, Laundry's the one with the stronger actors. But it probably doesn't matter all that much storywise which play goes where. By the end of the night, bottles emptied, secrets spilled, it has all come out in the wash.


It's backyards again in Icarus, a surreal drama by Puerto Rican playwright Edwin Sanchez getting its area premiere by Amphibian Stage Productions at TCU's Hays Theater. If only the play were as beautiful as the work of scenic designer Cameron Anderson. The set is a visual poem: a wide, deep swath of real sand topped with two weather-beaten porches set against a ceiling-high painting of an enormous white wing fluttering over a stairway to the sky.
Marisa Diotalevi (center, flanked by Sue Loncar, left, and Diane Worman) is the one to watch in Laundry and Bourbon. With each sip of hooch, she gets a little wobblier on her pink high heels.
George Wada
Marisa Diotalevi (center, flanked by Sue Loncar, left, and Diane Worman) is the one to watch in Laundry and Bourbon. With each sip of hooch, she gets a little wobblier on her pink high heels.

Details

Lone Star/Laundry and Bourbon continues through September 3 at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, 214-828-0094.

Icarus continues through August 20 at TCU’s Hays Theater, Fort Worth, 817-923-3012.

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In front of that magnificent scenery unfolds a silly, choppy story of four misfits who wander into a deserted beach house. Brother and sister Primitivo and Altagracia (played by Carman Lacitiva and Katya Campbell) fantasize about being movie stars. But he's in a wheelchair and she sports facial scars. Their friend Mr. Ellis (Stephen Balantzian) lives under the porch and talks to a stuffed cat. A stranger, Beau (Charlie Sandlan), arrives and won't remove his ski mask because of what he claims are car accident injuries.

What happens is a Liza-Minnelli-in-Junie-Moonplot about damaged souls. More engaging are brief flashes of a neighbor, a Norma Desmond-like recluse named "The Gloria" (the remarkable Anne-Lynn Kettles), who wanders out to hallucinate about a glamorous comeback. In the second act she wafts off her deck and onto the beach, where she speaks of beauty as currency and the elusiveness of fame. Every one of The Gloria's brief scenes hints at another, better play--just not the one she's in.

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