James McLure's Lone Star Finds Its Way Back to New York
Actor Matt de Rogatis sees new relevance in the play, now running at the Triad.
The one-act play, which ran on Broadway in 1979 and starred Powers Boothe, tells the story of Roy, a brawny macho type who is back in town after a stint in Vietnam. Along with his adoring younger brother Ray, Roy sets about consuming a case of Lone Star beer and regales his brother with tales of his military and amorous exploits. But with the arrival of Cletis, the fatuous, newly wedded son of the local hardware store owner, the underpinnings of Roy's world gradually begin to collapse.
Matt de Rogatis takes on the role of Roy in this staging, mining the character down to the smallest details. "I find Roy interesting," says de Rogatis, "because like many people, he puts on airs and acts as though everything is all right. He tries to convince himself that the current state of his life is exactly what he wanted. Even though we are in 2017, I still think the modern man is not supposed to appear sensitive and willing to talk about his feelings, especially if he is an 'alpha male' war hero like Roy."
While the depiction of men hasn't changed much since the show was first staged, this revisit of the play, produced by Nine Theatricals, creates an immediacy with its set, immersing the audience in the action of the show by re-creating the feel of an actual bar. "Before the show starts," says de Rogatis, "musicians Jill Geurts and Mollie Downes will play music of the time period. The idea is to make the Triad feel like the bar Roy is at during the play."
De Rogatis is no stranger to the character of Roy, having first played him in 2010. "Roy is the only character I have ever played more than once," he says. "It's one of those roles that you just always quote because there's such funny stuff in the play. I always said Roy would be the one character I'd want to play a second time. Preparing for the role has taught me so much about Vietnam, PTSD, and myself."
But de Rogatis' enthusiasm for Lone Star goes beyond its main character; he's also a fan of the work as a whole. "The play itself has so many different shades to it," he says. "There's a lot of humor, some great drama, and even tragedy, relatively speaking. It's a great piece of theater."
Lone Star will be performed at 9pm on May 6 and 13.