For most of 2020, the pandemic kept the Garfield Center for the Arts (GCA) closed to the public. Only their initial production of Greater Tuna made it to the stage before the pandemic closed everything down in March. The GCA remained active, though, offering free weekly streamed programs under the banner of GCTV: The Garfield Streams the Arts, and by presenting two ticketed streamed programs: September’s Short Attention Span Theatre Online 2020 and December’s (STAY) Home for the Holidays! Both ticketed events were video-captured, edited programs.

The Garfield Center is excited and pleased to announce its return to live performances starting April 30th with 1959 Pink Thunderbird. Written by James McLure, the program is a presentation of two one-act plays, Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star, which are related to one another by events, characters and plot. The production is being rehearsed and staged with social distancing and health considerations in mind, and it will be performed live from the Garfield stage and streamed online for home audiences. There will be no live audiences in the theatre. The production contains adult language and themes and is for mature audiences.

Performing in Laundry and Bourbon are Sharon Herz, Jen Friedman and Melissa McGlynn. The director is Jennifer Kafka Smith. The setting is the porch of Roy and Elizabeth’s home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets which are so much a part of small-town life. They are joined by the self-righteous Amy Lee, who, among other tidbits, can’t resist blurting out that Roy has been seen around town with another woman. The ensuing conversation is increasingly edged with bitter humor as Elizabeth’s inner strength is tested while important understandings are realized. 

Performing in Lone Star are Paul Cambardella, Brad Chaires and Brian Whitaker. The director is Steven Arnold. The setting is the backlot of the local bar. Roy, once the local high-school hero, is back in town after a hitch in Vietnam and trying to reestablish his position in the community. Joined by his younger brother, Ray (who worships him), Roy sets about consuming a case of beer while regaling Ray with tales of his military and amorous exploits. Roy cherishes three things above all: his country, his wife, and his 1959 pink Thunderbird. But with the arrival of Cletis, the fatuous son of a local store owner, the underpinnings of Roy’s world begin to collapse as potentially devastating revelations are made with pathos and humor.

The production’s technical directors and set builders are Butch Clark and Nic Carter, scenic designers are Steven Arnold and Butch Clark, and the streaming engineer is Nic Carter with Charlie Joiner assisting as a streaming technology consultant. Paul Cambardella is overseeing props and Barbi Bedell provides costuming assistance. 

The production is offered to ticket buyers for 4 live-streamed performances only, each beginning at 8:00 PM, on Friday, April 30, Saturday, May 1, Friday May 7 and Saturday, May 8. Tickets are $15.00 (plus a modest processing/streaming fee) and can be purchased starting April 8th on the GCA website at garfieldcenter.org/pinkthunderbird.