“Those aren’t characters. They’re illusions of characters…fantasies of a long-lost boyhood.”
I’m gonna be honest. I really struggled with this play.
It’s never one I would’ve ventured on my own to tackle this young, but when Sean and Jordi approached me about it, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with this incredible team one last time before graduating. The hardest thing about True West is that it has so many different themes at play, and attempting to direct attention to all of them at once is a virtually impossible task. So, in figuring out an angle on this behemoth of a play, I settled on the quote you see at the top of this page, particularly the phrase, “fantasies of a long-lost boyhood.”
Something strange happens when we return to our hometowns after time away; it is as if we revert to an earlier version of ourselves, any progress we have made beginning to slip away as we return to the habits and behaviors of our youth. This is exactly what happens to the two brothers you will watch on stage today. Lee and Austin, estranged for five years, reconnect by accident in their mother’s home, and suddenly their childhood rivalries burn anew, more tangible and violent than ever. When they are alone, everything is amplified, and the most inconsequential quip boils with the intensity of a Western standoff. However, when a third person enters the room, we see them reduced to the lost children they really are – unable to stand on their own. Though it may be taken to extremes, this pattern is one we all recognize, be it in ourselves or in those we know.
When this play begins, you will see two men who seem as if they could not be more different. By the time it ends, they will seem so interconnected it may be difficult to distinguish one from the other. The explanation for this is simple: in classic Western movie fashion, “This town ain’t big enough for the both of them.” Each one is a physical representation of the wild west, in his own complicated way, and one cannot exist in the presence of the other. They try – for the 48 hours they spend together in this house, we see them try – but they can only play at that boyhood fantasy for so long before it all comes crashing down.
Get ready for the wildest sibling rivalry you could possibly imagine.
Photos by Melany Perez
Show Clips and/or Full Production Footage Available Upon Request
Director: Madison Cole
Producer: Jordi Bertrán Ramírez
Stage Manager: Isabella Dominguez
Set Designer: Sean Luc Rogers
Lighting and Sound Designer: Sam Bezilla
Costume Designer: Carson White
Props Designer: Maya McGrory
Fight Choreographer: Mike Rossmy
Head Electrician: Adam Wassilchalk
Associate Producer: Victoria Pekel
Assistant Lighting Designer: Emiliano Caceres Manzano
Graphic Designer: Mikayla Johnson
Austin: Jordi Bertrán Ramírez
Lee: Sean Luc Rogers
Saul Kimmer: Calum Baker
Mom: Malia Munley