“Thunderbird” transports audiences to rural Texas with style and emotion - The Herald: #Life

“Thunderbird” transports audiences to rural Texas with style and emotion

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Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:00 am

“1959 Pink Thunderbird” is the final show of the spring semester being produced by the Fowler Center. It is a rustic story following Elizabeth (Jaelyn Epps) and Roy (Caleb Silvey), high school sweethearts who are struggling to keep it together after Roy returns from Vietnam.

The show, however, doesn’t ever show Roy and Elizabeth together. It is a combination of two separate plays. The first act was originally known as “Laundry and Bourbon,” and the second act was called “Lone Star.”

The first act focuses on Elizabeth and her two friends, Hattie (Irene Taylor) and Amy Lee (Amber Millsap). It is a hot summer day in rural Texas and Elizabeth is lamenting that her marriage with Roy hasn’t been the same since he returned from the war.

The second act portrays Roy at the bar with his brother, Ray (Davis Campbell), and a boy he used to go to high school with, Cletis (Davis Polston). 

The second act takes place later that night, and Roy is almost too drunk to worry about anything but his 1959 pink Thunderbird Convertible, which he’s had since high school. The convertible is his pride and joy, which Elizabeth complains is coming between them.

The first thing the audience sees when they enter the black box is the set. Not only is it incredibly well done, but the audience is placed on either side of the set, so the actors are essentially moving down an aisle between the audience.

Though Elizabeth’s house is physically only about 10 feet from the bar set, it is easy to imagine that they are miles apart. Much of these imagined distances and lines can be attributed to the superb acting.

Epps takes Elizabeth from a wife who waits for her husband to a woman who has a lot of love but not many places to put it. She is incredible in the role, and her chemistry with Taylor and Millsap makes the stage pop, though the script is not made for high-energy.

The show is true realism, with not a lot of action but tons of words. The second act is more energetic, but there’s still more telling than showing.

Silvey and Campbell are quite the team, making the audience explode with laughter, and though Polston is onstage for less time, he still does an incredible job.

The show brings to light the idea of the American Dream and what it really means for those who are trying to live it.

There will be one more performance tonight at 7:30 in the Simpson Theatre. “1959 Pink Thunderbird” is highly recommended.

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