February 25, 2014
Harrison, Texas Opens at Raisbeck
: Poster design by Parker Wrenn (DE '12).
Harrison, Texas: stoking the fires of romance, small-town Texas style in two short Horton Foote plays opening February 26 at Raisbeck Performance Hall.
Looking at the rough road young relationships so often bump along, it’s amazing the species is able to endure. In Harrison, Texas, Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winning writer Horton Foote transports audiences to small town Texas to witness two precarious but promising rendezvous. Harrison, Texas brings together two well-known short Foote plays that are separated by the years but joined thematically, The Dancers (1954) and Blind Date (1985). Together they open February 26 in the Ned & Kayla Skinner Theater of Raisbeck Performance Hall, produced by the Theater and Performance Production departments and under the direction of Kelly Kitchens.
“I think Horton Foote’s plays are beautiful jewel boxes: small, delicate works of art that hold something precious,” writes director Kitchens in her notes to the production. “Blind Date and The Dancers are two such creations; they contain a longing and loneliness balanced with humor and heart that somehow stretch further than the Texas sky under which they are set.”
The fictional town of Harrison, Texas, is an affectionate portrait of Horton Foote’s home town on the highway between Houston and Corpus Christi, Wharton. Foote is know for his Academy Awards for his screen adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird and his original script of 1983, Tender Mercies, which also won an award for Robert Duvall. His play, The Young Man from Atlanta, won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The Dancers finds 16-year old Horace facing his insecurities about taking Emily Crews, the prettiest girl in town, to a dance. It’s not his idea or hers; their two families are throwing them together. In full retreat and in escape mode, Horace finds himself in a soda fountain considering his next move. There he meets Mary Catherine who may be a much better match, but there’s still the commitment to consider, and Emily seems have come around.
Blind Date follows another unlikely pairing, Sarah Nancy and Felix. Visiting in Harrison, Sarah Nancy becomes the unwilling student of her aunt Dolores, who is intent on showing her bookish niece womanly wiles. Enter Felix, an arranged date. Much to the delight of her Robert, Sarah Nancy resists her aunt’s pressure and rejects the unfortunate Felix. But in matters of romance, it sometimes darkest right before the dawn. Perhaps Felix still has a chance.
As with so many Southern writers, Horton Foote is in love with the spoken word. “Conversation isn’t just a way of passing the time or swapping gossip for the denizens of Harrison, writes Ben Brantley of the New York Times. “To talk as Foote’s more garrulous characters do is to proclaim both personal and social identity, to assert an ironclad system of values and — perhaps most important — to keep at bay the silence that might call those values into question.”
Harrison, Texas: Two Plays by Horton Foote, February 26-28 and March 1, 8:00 p.m.; March 2, 2:00 p.m. Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue, Seattle, WA.
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