Laundry and Bourbon & Lone Star
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Karen Andersen

Roy Caulder (Eric Sande) is a Vietnam veteran who’s been back home for two years. Home is Maynard, Texas and like many returning vets, nothing seems the same anymore. Has anything really changed in that small town, or has the intensity of his war experience given him a different perspective? Roy never stops to try to figure it out. Instead, he goes down to the local bar every night and drinks himself into Lone Star Beer oblivion.

The Garage Door Players of San Francisco present two curious one act plays written by James McLure. Both dramas focus on the character of Roy. In the first, Laundry and Bourbon, Roy never makes a physical appearance, but he’s ever present in the thoughts of his wife Elizabeth (Monika Hoyt).

The play opens with her sitting on a porch full of unfolded laundry. She stares off into the distance. When her doorbell rings she ignores it. When her friend Hattie Dealing (Felecia Faulkner) keeps calling out to her, she finally answers. During the course of the long hot afternoon, they have several bourbon and cokes and we learn that Roy has been gone for two days. We also learn that Elizabeth is pregnant and hasn’t told Roy yet. While it may sound a bit like a television soap opera, Hoyt and Faulkner are so convincing in their roles that it feels like a real life soap opera. There’s also a lot of down home comedy that emerges as the two women talk, watch a game show on TV and try to fold laundry while getting drunk in the heat. The comedy reaches a fever pitch when the gossiping Southern Baptist, Amy Lee Fullernoy (Linda-Ruth Cardozo) shows up. Fireworks of laughter continually erupt in the audience during this entertaining play about three small town Texas women, but we’re never too far away from Elizabeth’s deep concern and love for her husband. He keeps coming up in their conversation, and Elizabeth never stops searching the road for his pink 1959 Thunderbird.

The car plays an important part in both dramas. It symbolizes Roy’s youth and free spirit in a past that is hard to let go of. In the second play, Lone Star, we physically meet Roy, his brother Ray (David Morton) and Amy Lee’s husband Cletis (Camp Owens). This drama opens in the yard outside a Texas bar. Roy sits in an old car seat, several empty bottles of Lone Star Beer lined up beside him. His younger brother Ray soon joins him. Because of a knee injury, Ray was able to escape the war. As the two talk, we realize they’re as different as day and night, yet it’s also obvious that there’s a deep familial love between them. Ray is concerned about his brother’s two-year drinking binge, but he doesn’t preach to him. It comes out subtly in their conversation.

Again most of what they talk about is women, cars and their youth, and much of it is damn funny. At one point Ray unwraps a Baby Ruth bar and holds it out in front of him with two fingers. “Ever wonder how much a Baby Ruth bar looks like a turd,” he says and goes on to drive the image home with visceral descriptions. Then he takes a big old bite of it, and the entire audience doubles over with laughter.

But through the funny interactions of the two brothers and a later catalytic event brought on by Cletis crashing Roy’s pink Thunderbird into the only tree on a desert highway, Roy is forced to come to terms with change and is finally ready to return home. Both plays show how difficult returning home from a war can be. Sometimes the complete journey takes years because a war veteran doesn’t have the luxury of growing up slowly. He goes from a kid to an instant grownup in a very short period of time.

Don’t miss The Garage Door Players in these highly entertaining and thought provoking comedies. For tickets or more information call (415) 740-8287.

Current / Touring / Archives / Links / Film / Video / Links / Home