Dallas — The lights go up to a stage filled with get-down cowgirls kicking up their heels and singing about the coming “Brother’s Harvest”—the annual appearance of the hard-bodied Hispanic men arriving with their combines to harvest whatever’s ripe and ready in Rising Star, Texas, the dump of the West Texas plains, where women crave sex, men love tater tots, and children are sorta mentioned in passing.
We’re quickly swept into the world of Indigo Sue, a flinty and flirty Cassie Bann, the 40-plus heroine of Brother’s Harvest, the world premiere of a comedy with music, written and directed by Matthew Posey at Ochre House Theater. In a fast-moving and hilariously vulgar 90 minutes, Posey and his dozen cast members, backed by Earl Norman’s fine four-piece band, serve up an earthy taste of life, love and who got laid in a mash-up of song, dance and gritty dialogue. These cowgirls definitely know how to ride’em.
Indigo Sue tells us right off the boot that her ex-husband Boomer, a comically slack-jawed Chris Sykes begging to be stomped on, only figures in her life “because he knocked me up when we were kids.” Now she’s got two kids of her own, a dull life running a ratty beauty parlor she inherited by chance, and a desperate wish to get out of Rising Star where “my life is getting smaller and smaller” by the year. Her escape fantasy is to win the cash pot in the town’s 19-mile pickup race to the next town—and maybe get belly-to-belly with a woman-hungry traveling combine driver.
All the gals in Rising Star share Sue’s aching desire to get their legs around some more adventurous buckaroos than what’s available back at the house. They ponder their predicament, amidst funny explicit talk of ways and means to get laid. “How come I love sex so much? Am I a necrophiliac?” ponders one curious cowgirl. Hard edges arise from time to time in this comedy. A pregnant woman, cradling her belly with one hand and covering her black eye with the other, explains, “I didn’t make Curtis’ bologna sandwich right.” Whoa.
When the men of the town wander through, it’s easy to understand these forlorn females’ plight. Boomer is a first-class loser, just scrappy enough to get his butt kicked regularly. His buddy Hank, played with a funny-scary dazed expression by Mitchell Parrack, is just back from 29 years in the slammer, and wide-open spaces terrify him. “I sleep in my closet on account of my apartment is just too big,” Hank confides.
Christian Taylor’s Sasso is a hilarious beer-swilling good old boy, taking his girl for a turn around the dance floor, and then stumbling stage front, with his eyes crossed in confusion. Even the sheriff, played with straight man comic timing by Kevin Grammer, is a fuddled stoner.
What rejoicing among the womenfolk when the harvest brothers show up. Tall, handsome, sweet-talking Enrique, played by tall, handsome, hunky Ivan Jasso, grabs the sweepable Sue by the waist and into his darkly powerful Diablo pickup. Enrique woos Sue with his many names and his tale of hard-earned success: “I had 27 brothers and sisters; I was number 21. My mother’s calling in life was to fill the earth with Catholics,” he tells her. He goes on to say how he worked himself up from harvesting cucumbers to cantaloupes by hand, and on to the glory of owning his own combine. What girl wouldn’t swoon?
Enrique’s brother Karlo, a burly, grinning Dante Martinez, takes his women by brute force—and gets plenty of cooperation. When asked about his entire name, he replies. “Just Karlo – not all Mexicans have long names.” Right.
Norman’s original music, with lyrics by Posey and Parrack, is mostly upbeat and swinging, with strong percussion, keyboard, a jazzy guitar and an accordion adding a little ethnic spice. Indigo Sue’s one ballad is a little lost amidst the flurry of laughs, but all the songs carry the crazy plot forward.
The music swells, the beat-up Stetsons are thrown in the ring, the pick-ups gun their motors and the race in on, in a wonderful dark-night, small-stage race, staged with clever lighting and sharp props by Justin Locklear. Who will win the race? Will love conquer all? Is anybody watching those kids? Could beat-up Boomer’s fate be the trendiest of all?
Make your way to the Ochre House, pop a free Shiner, kick back and find out what happens to this bawdy bunch of people fresh out of Matthew Posey’s wet script.