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Dark drama looks at sibling rivalry

Springfield StageWork to present ‘True West’

Sam Shepard’s dark tale of sibling rivalry, “True West,” will be performed by Springfield StageWorks from Aug. 30- Sept. 8, at the State Theatre.

Directed by Sarah Davis, the story is a dark, intense drama, full of strange quirks and comic relief. “It’s about two brothers, but it is also about the general concept of struggle versus success, right versus wrong, jealousy versus envy and what those ideas really mean,” said Davis. “They’re subjective concepts, really, and this play illustrates that.”

The show’s plot surrounds the sons of an alcoholic who clash over a film script. Austin is working on a script he has sold to a producer when his brother, Lee, pitches his own idea to the producer, who then wants Austin to drop his original story and instead Lee’s trashy tale.

Springfielder Joel Bonsell plays Austin. “I couldn’t be more proud of the character development and subtle nuances I’ve seen from him,” said Davis. Nicolas Bauer, a Dayton resident, plays Lee. “He has truly embodied Lee’s persona, bringing an outwardly unstable anxiety and depth to him that really locks in the believability of the character,” said Davis. Bauer might be recognized from his participation in two other Stageworks productions: “Oleanna” in early 2012, and “Glengarry Glen Ross” in 2010.

Filling the remaining roles are Saverio Perugini from Dayton as Saul, the quintessential slick producer, and Bonnie Bertelson of New Lebanon as Mom. “I’m thrilled to have Saverio on board,” said Davis. “He brings an aggressive, salesman-like energy to his role that really bridges the gap between Austin and Lee. And although we only see Mom for one scene, Bonnie has really embraced the diverse emotions flitting around inside her character’s brain.”

“This is a show that gets produced on a semi regular basis,” said Davis. “But it also misses the mark a lot of the time, even on the grandest scale. Some folks try to get too artistic, taking too many liberties with things that don’t really matter and the heart of the story is lost. I have tried very hard to keep it accessible without dumbing it down. Maintaining the realism and humor without losing that darkness and instability that runs throughout the center of it.”

As pre- and post-show entertainment, Davis has selected music from bands around the Miami Valley, including Miss Lissa & Co., Jeffrey Crace, Eric Wells, Evil Eye Gypsy, and Auragami. Some of the bands will have CDs available for purchase in the lobby, with a portion of the proceeds going to StageWorks.

Due to language and dark themes, this show is appropriate for ages 13 and older.

General admission tickets are $10, cash or check, and available at the door one hour prior to curtain. The lobby and box office will open one hour prior to curtain; house will open 30 minutes prior to curtain. All proceeds from this event benefit Springfield StageWorks.

StageWorks was founded in 2004 and is a nonprofit theatre company. Performances take place in the State Theatre at 19 S. Fountain Ave.

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