The Star Play

Local Arts Reviews

The Star Play: Early Valentine

Blue Theater, October 7

When a star dies, it goes dark for want of love. This sweet production by New York's 2texans theatre company, written by former Austinite Michael Arthur, makes a wish for love and finds it in the most unlikely places. Part vaudeville comedy, part poem, part search for philosophical meaning, part fairy tale, the whole is an early valentine, with, of course, a happy ending.

The Star Play is full of the sort of pleasant stage simplicity that has placards on a hat stand to indicate "Tree" or on a pair of chairs for "Park Bench." The action is all onstage, with two fairies conducting, or trying to conduct, their mission to save love. Lisa Hargus and Rebekkah Ross are the sorta-magical Arlen and Paco, the former rather goofy, the latter a bit more serious, together an ongoing slapstick routine in which the two well-meaning sprites contrive to turn simple fairy molehills into mountains. Janelle Schremmer is Aurora, a fallen star wandering among humans, who thought she'd found love but instead broke her heart, the pieces of which she totes along in a small, ornate jewelry box. Troy Schremmer plays Diff, a nightly star wisher, always wishing for the same thing: true love. It's probably not fair to call the pair "star-crossed" but they meet, and in the course of the play, the unlikely pair -- she incredibly bitter about romance, he desperate to find the real thing -- appear to move toward each other. Of course, the fairies are bumblers as well as fixers, so there are kinks in the smooth fabric. Missing instructions, inappropriate fairy meddling, and poorly timed interruptions serve to displace the potential lovers and turn the ease of the fairies' mission more complex. But what's love without several intergalactic hurdles?

Sonnet Blanton directs the play to highlight its immediacy and coy appeal. She mixes silly slapstick with empathetic wistfulness, always keeping things colorful and moving. Except when the talking gets a little too philosophical, then Arthur's script strays from poetry to something less pretty and less engaging. This lovely little play probably could shave 10-15 minutes and be even more endearing. Fortunately, for every passage that strays from the heart and the heartfelt, Arthur throws a comic (or cosmic) curveball and the play returns to its sweetly poetic, starstruck best.

2texans is actually somewhat more than two: All the company members who brought the show to town for MOMFest before its New York premiere in November (with live music and original compositions added), either grew up, or spent many years, in the Lone Star state, especially Austin. That made this a sweet homecoming, well appreciated by those who live here, a starry gift from deep in the hearts of 2texans.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Star Play, 2texans, Michael Arthur, Lisa Hargus, Rebekkah Ross, Janelle Schremmer, Troy Schremmer, Sonnet Blanton

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