Tuesday, Oct. 10, marked the opening night of the 1959 Thunderbird play performed in the Redfern Arts Center.
Director PeggyRae Johnson said this play was “a tribute to [her] friends, peers and loved ones who fought and died in Vietnam.”
She continued, “Secondly, it is a study for all of us who live in a society that experiences perpetual conflict and hopefully reminds us all, as the director’s note says, to encourage each other and find the good in humanity and the silver lining all of the challenges that are facing us.”
The play was divided into two acts. Act One “Lone Star” was led by senior Kenon Veno as Roy, first-year Laughlin Hentz as Ray and senior Matthew Geary as Cletis. Act Two “Laundry and Bourbon” was led by junior Ashley Gage as Elizabeth, senior Dominique Pascoal as Hatty and sophomore Ashley Rollend as Amy Lee.
The story of Lone Star was based on the struggles of the main character Roy and how life was different after serving in the Vietnam War.
Roy said, “War made me mean,” and nobody could understand his pain. Throughout the show, Roy made it loud and clear that he loved his 1959 Thunderbird.
Tragedy struck Roy when his brother, Ray, confessed Cletis crashed the car while he was gone. On top of that, Ray also confessed to sleeping with Roy’s wife, Elizabeth.
Roy was able to get over his brother’s betrayal, but was deeply saddened by the crashing of the car. He ran away and never returned.
Niccolas Cardoza, a sophomore at Keene State College, was in attendance of the show and said he loved it. He said the act “Lone Star” showed “the bond between brotherhood.”
Cardoza also said he learned from the play that, “PTSD doesn’t just affect the first person, but the whole family.” “Laundry and Bourbon” mainly focused on Elizabeth and how she was affected from life after war from Roy. Elizabeth was upset with the changes she saw in Roy after war and how his PTSD affected her as well. She revealed she was pregnant and was saddened that Roy was gone and hadn’t returned home.
KSC senior Sarah Parece was also in attendance at the show and said, “I think it was a good mix of comedy and the seriousness of the topic of the play.”
Parece also said it was evident that the characters had a strong relationship with each other and the play shows “the effects that holding stuff in has.”
Director Johnson said, “I would hope the audience would leave with an appreciation for the complexity of the veterans’ experience and the experience of those left at home waiting for the veterans’ return.”
Geary played the role of Cletis in the show. “This one was especially powerful for me because both of my parents served in the military,” said Geary. This was Geary’s last performance as a senior at KSC. Geary said, “I am so happy to have been a part of this department; I gained an enormous amount of experience from everyone.”
Izzy Harris can be contacted at email@example.com