The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995 has got to be one of the strangest titles that I’ve ever seen but the production is incredibly entertaining. The fast-moving script by Jennifer Faletto hits all the right notes with this gaggle of seniors soon to be graduating from a well-to-do Houston suburb. They’ve made their marks, planned and prepped themselves to lean into adulthood. But then the old traditional ways take unexpected detours and they find themselves in unknown territory—right there in their own school.
The main point of contention is what happens when it’s rumored that an alluring high school diva student has desecrated the sacred Texas flag. All Hell breaks loose at just the Thought of it—who knows if it’s true, it’s just the possibility that sends folks into a Texas tizzy fit. It’s the prefect opportunity for young female students who thrash about as they also slowly discover there’s actually life outside of their protected bubbles.
The actresses work together as a delightful ensemble, beautifully directed by Melissa Firlotte who has her finger on the pulse of high school mannerisms and southwestern inflections.
The setting is the perfect example that gets this across—we’re all in the bathroom! Yes, the stalls are front and center playing a prominent role in the action. The scene opens with each of the actresses coming out of a stall describing each other’s traits, primping in the mirror, popping back in to hide when necessary, and yes, even use it on occasion with a loud flush and air pantomime hand washing to boot.
With the oh so graphic message spray painted across the stall doors about what Crystal supposedly did with the flag, the girls banter and talk all over each other as they share about boys, the latest exploits, who’s zooming who, and back to boys. Alpha girl Tammy, played to the hilt by Brooke Friday, commands attention with her tall not-to-be-messed with frame and demeanor. Her sidekick “Sammy”, played with crisp comedic timing by Claire Derriennic, is a prayerfully sweet God-fearing Christian do-gooder. Next is Kira Burri as Jess who holds her own in the fascinating quartet. Tucked along the side and edges (and even crawling between the stalls on the floor) is Kelsey Yudice as Abby. This fascinating character starts out nearly unseen, an invisible nobody until she’s bullied to hold her ground, and when she has her say, it’s with a wollop.
The entire opening scene set-up is about the mysterious Crystal who’s unseen as the ladies chatter, but when she finally make her entrance, what an alluring sight she is. Ashton Fortune as Crystal Anderson sashays up to them all, stopping their tongues in mid-sentence as they await breathlessly for her to respond to the accusation. Did or didn’t she do this heinous thing with the flag? And if so, how can she keep breathing? All eyes are on her, while Crystal takes it all in with a mischievous look, stares us all down, flicks her hair, pivots and struts away! Everyone is aghast! The twists and turns keep coming as the characters desperately try to keep their comfy little worlds together while events churn around them pushing them way beyond their comfort zones.
The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995
closes March 25, 2018
Details and tickets
Their ultimate conquest, even beyond surviving school and grades and parents, is to get suitable dates to the Homecoming Dance. Faletto’s script brings a fresh new approach to the issues and the ensemble is swaggeringly funny. We can’t take our eyes off the characters, and even when we’re diametrically opposed to their insular protectionist positions they are so assured in their adorable self-righteousness, we smile at their youth and innocence. To justify their vehement pride about all things Texas, the girls tackle issues of self-identity with questions about who belongs the most, who’s got the deepest roots, down to – where are your ancestors from, what does a native born Texan really mean? If you’re that deeply rooted, then, aren’t you, well, Native?! More gasps! And big laughs. The Texas Homecoming becomes an unintentional revolution with everyone going along on this rambunctiously funny ride exploring cultural pride, place, and a bit of coming of age.
Tucked comfortably (and conveniently) in Lake Forest Mall, Best Medicine started as a small, bright, energetic company dedicated to incubating funny and entertaining scripts. This one truly fits the bill. The new productions have an upbeat quality and are full of sass. I just missed the January production The Consul, The Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart based on Charlie Chapman. I won’t make that mistake again and am already primed for the upcoming readings and the next show, Derek Jeter Makes the Play. Such an enticing premise in the hands of the creative designers at Best Medicine assures a hearty laugh and a thought-provoking good time.
[Jennifer Faletto has a second well-received comedy playing in our area: This Little Light.]
The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995 by Jennifer Faletto . Director and Sound Design: Melissa Firlit . Starring Kira Burri, Claire Derriennic, Brooke Friday, Ashton Fortune, Kelsey Yudice . Set and Light Co-Designers: John Morogiello and Melissa Firlit . Costume Design: Lori Boyd . Fight Choreographer: Cliff Williams . Stage Manager: Mark Saint-John Kerr . Produced by Best Medicine Rep . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.