Harrison, TX: The Texas Three-Step

Primary Stages mounts a trilogy of short plays by Horton Foote

Into this placid mix, Mrs. Crawford tosses two disruptive new arrivals: a recently divorced salesman, Ralph (Bobb, nicely mixing desperate and dapper), and Helen Crews (Jenny Dare Paulin), the distraught heroine of a local Romeo-and-Juliet story gone bad. Helen's former beau, Harvey (Cendese), the title character, now a near-suicidal drunk, still pursues her. (In an irony that reaches back to the opening play, their romance has gone awry thanks to domineering mothers asserting, like Dolores, their own ideas of social propriety.)

Here we get a resolution, of sorts, and some reflections on the crisscross of lives that suggest an awareness of Chekhov. Pam MacKinnon's production, using Marion Williams's set ingeniously, gives the performances a fullness that makes the boardinghouse a little world. Never enthralling but always intriguing, the three tiny plays provide a vibrant sense of Foote's awe at the largeness of his creative task. "It all began so long ago that I don't remember the beginning," Helen says of her now-dead love affair with Harvey, "and so how can I possibly know the end?" It might be Foote himself, talking about his life's work.

mfeingold@villagevoice.com

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WilliamVMadison
WilliamVMadison

As a Texan -- and as one who was lucky enough to meet Mr. Foote several times, and to spend an afternoon with him in Wharton, the model for Harrison -- I'm a natural-born admirer of his work. Michael Feingold's review makes it imperative that I see this production!

 
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