by Flip Kobler
|Directed by Sean Henson||
Wild Dust is set in 1880, somewhere in the Wild West, during a fierce dust storm. All of the town's men are off driving the cattle and horses to safety leaving the women holed up in the only brick building in town, the whorehouse
The scene opens as a handsome man, Cooper, enters the darkened saloon, and the voluptuous and boisterous Marion, tackles and ropes him in surprise.
We quickly meet the other characters. Rebecca Crowe, newly blind, has stopped in town on the way to San Francisco to learn how to function with her disability.
Next enters Mrs. Louise Styles, with her teenage daughter Gertrude. Mrs. Styles is married to the largest landowner and business owner in this small town. She is very prim and proper and holier than thou, while nosing into all her neighbors' private affairs. In fast succession, we are introduced to Sally, a strident, know-it-all gambler; Denise, a woman who starts out mute, but develops into the poignant center of the evening's events; Belle, a daffy but sweet woman who thinks the brothel is a hotel and who's waiting for her fiance who left her there for parts unknown; Hard Cora, a pioneering woman bucking the traditional stereotype of how a woman is supposed to behave; and Martin, in a non-speaking but crucial role as the corpse.
All the women want to know who this handsome man is. We find out that he is traveling East from West and doesn't want to discuss his past. He has spent the past few days riding ahead of the dust storm and needs shelter. The women are all hiding a secret, before the play's action began, the bartender Martin had been shot and killed and they all are conspiring together to hide the body. Later we learn that the cowboy may be an ex-Marshal. This adds complexity to the plot. What will he do with the information? Will they have to kill him too to keep the murder of Martin a secret?
For three days the ladies and the drifter are forced to face each other and their own inner ghosts. Feminism meets machismo and both are stripped bare as everyone fights the roles in which society has them pegged. Love, self esteem and a healthy dose of laughter are the results.
* Kent Clapsaddle (Cooper) * Debbi Dennison (Belle) * Gloria Dennison (Rebecca) * Cynthia de Seife (Louise) * Carrie Frodin (Denise) * Elise Johnson (Gertude) * Bill Kator (Martin) * Kim Lamansky (Marion) * Susan Preuter (Sally) * Heather VandenBerg (Hard Cora) *
* Tim Ball (Stage Manager) * Tammy Fischer (Costume Designer) * Tom Grady (Lighting Designer) * Jill Henson (Set Designer) * Alan Polansky (Master Set Builder) * Tammy Shelton (Props Artisan) *