A new saga in the Lost Wife Creek series
Created from the London Frontier Theatre Company’s popular “Lost Wife Creek” series — reviewed as, “historic, hilarious, nostalgic … thoroughly enjoyable” — this saga takes the Aragons and the Trotters from 1933 to 1941, the years of the Great Depression.
Roosevelt’s New Deal is “turning the country around,” but life is still hard in rural New Mexico.
Dreams of lost gold, Spanish landgrants and stardom in “talkies” vie with reality of drought, a ne’er-do-well son and a decrepit old flivver.
Live music — dulcimer, guitar, fiddle and song — carries us along, from the (too-familiar) “Hard Times” to “Frankie & Johnnie” and other favorites, both “old-timey” and of the era.
There are local, national and international events — politics and dust storms, the inauguration of the New Deal; Prohibition’s end and Mr. Gibbers’ progress from bootlegger to politician; a truly American transition; the Homestead Act (the Trotters are homesteaders from Arkansas); the WPA Civilian Conservation Corps and the “documenting America” program; the building of Boulder Dam in Nevada and the rise of the “mobs” in Chicago, the shadow of Hitler over Europe, and the American divorcee who captured an English king — which are all interwoven with the daily lives, struggles and misadventures of Manny and Ruby Aragon, and Cass and Gardy Trotter.
From the “Nest-Egg Caper,” initiated by the women (with courage drawn from their heroine Eleanor Roosevelt), to Manny and Cass’s bumbled attempt to emulate Dillinger; from sister Ivy’s “creative” way of dealing with an abusive spouse, to the strange discovery of the origin of Lost Wife Creek, “Hard Times & Hope” is a rollicking, touching, fondly-wry look at the gritty and personal side of a difficult, formative era of American history, and extremely relevant today.
Actors in “Hard Times & Hope” are Diane Allen, Janice Brunacini, Josi Holt, Frank Howard, Fernando Montaño, Ruth Ryan, Terry Stone and Donna Todd. Musicians are Randall and Emily Johnson, with Nicola Maynard. Tech director Ronald Thornton handles set, lighting, and sound.
Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 30-31, at 7 p.m.; with a matinee performance on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. Additional performances are set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7, at 7 p.m.; and another matinee on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m.
All shows are at Magdalena’s WPA Theatre on Main at Fourth.
Tickets are $5 for adults, $2.50 for children and are available at the door an hour before the performance, and also by reservation at 575- 854-2519, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.londonfrontiertheatre.com.
On Saturday, July 31, a display of 1930s New Deal art and opens at 2 p.m., at the theatre. Admission is free. The display is presented by the New Deal Preservation Association, with speakers on the New Deal’s artistic heritage at 3 p.m.
Visitors can look, learn and purchase copies of this quintessentially American art and photography, as well as enjoy live music of the era. From 3-6 p.m., a real pit barbecue with all the trimmings will be available. Proceeds benefit the Steel Chicks, Magdalena’s talented young “pan” (steel drum) band.
London Frontier, now in its 15th season in Magdalena, continues to present a wide variety of plays incorporating our vivid multi-culture and history in exciting, entertaining theater.
This project funded in part by the McCune Charitable Foundation and Friends of the Theatre.