Thingamajig’s ‘Texas Homecoming Revolution’ opening tomorrow night, Jan. 31

Photo courtesy Laura Moore

By Bill Hudson
Special to The PREVIEW
At a rehearsal last Friday at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, one of the cast members in Thingamajig Theatre Company’s current production issued a complaint, of sorts. The recent photograph featured in The Pagosa Springs SUN had listed the five cast members as “local actors.” Yes, the five women are indeed all local community members, but — she asked — weren’t we stretching the definition of the term “actors”?
Another cast member waxed philosophical.
“Well, if all the world is a stage, then we are indeed local actors.”
The show in rehearsal last Friday evening — “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” by Jennifer Faletto — opens tomorrow night, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m., following a well-tested Thingamajig tradition of using local talent for the final production of the winter season. In this particular case, the five local actors are portraying girls — seniors — at a suburban Texas high school in the days leading up to the biggest event of the year: Homecoming.
The year is 1995. Much of the action takes place in the girl’s bathroom, where an alleged scandal is unfolding.
The local actors are Halleigh Sowerby, Ericka Vincent, Nadia Werby, Lisa Jensen and Jackie Kleckner. And, in fact, four of the actors attended high school in the mid-1990s, although only one actually attended school in Texas.
Sowerby portrays Crystal Andersen, the subject of the alleged scandal, and admits to attending a Texas high school.
“Growing up in Texas, this play did hit home for me. I was 14 in 1995, so I was in high school, going through this kind of thing, but I relate more to one of the other characters: Nadia’s character. I was an introvert, with cowgirl clothes, and I was a member of FFA. And making the mums and stuff — that definitely brings back memories. Because we did wear that. And the bigger the better …”
As theatrer-goers will learn — if you aren’t already familiar the tradition — the celebration of Texas high school homecoming typically involves the construction of enormous corsages made of mum flowers.
Vincent — who plays Fiorelli — grew up in Colorado and had a somewhat different high school experience.
“I was a jock in high school. The girls I hung out with were soccer players. It was a very suburban experience. Learning about the mums, that was brand new to me.
“I was a pretty straight-edged, rule-following kid, so I think Laura cast me perfectly as Sammy. You know, cover all your skin and bring lip gloss to a dance. That was me.”
Kleckner plays Jess Clark.
“I didn’t grow up anywhere near Texas. I wasn’t a valley girl, I wasn’t allowed to spend time with other girls after school; I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. And this play is all about wearing a ton of makeup and hanging out with other girls — a certain way of acting that’s not at all the way I grew up. I grew up in a really small town in Washington. We were more on the hippie-dippie side, because we couldn’t afford anything.”
Jensen, who portrays Abbey Aquino in the comedy, attended high school in Calgary. “Before 1995.”
“I think my character … none of the scenes in particular, but I think I was a little bit like Abbey … feeling like the outsider; not really getting picked on, but just hiding from people because I didn’t know if they would pick on me. And it was a working-class neighborhood. Definitely, nobody had a Porsche …
“Somebody might have had a Ford Bronco, though. (Laughter.) Somebody’s boyfriend.”
Werby plays Tammy Schneider, but also had a different kind of high school experience.
“I went to an inner-city Denver high school, with a bunch of gang members … they were actually good guys. They were athletes.
“You didn’t hang out in the bathrooms at all. You got to class, because you might get jumped if you didn’t. And I was not the mean girl. I was scared of all the mean girls. And we didn’t have anyone who was religious. (Laughter.) But there were the cool girls — so cool that you knew you’d never be that cool. And they didn’t care about any of the high school stuff … and we were all wrapped up in it …”
Faletto’s comedy was workshopped at Thingamajig’s 2018 Playwrights Festival and the playwright makes a note in the script: “The play takes place in the suburbs of Houston in 1995. Please no big Texas/non-region-specific southern accents. The characters live in a wealthy suburb of a major city. Light accents for some, none for others.”
Tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 31, is opening night for this fully staged reading,and the comedy runs two weekends through Feb. 9. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.; all other performances are at 7 p.m. Tickets are available on the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts website, pagosacenter.org, and by calling the box office at 731-7469.
Thingamajig Theatre Company is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to perform and produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round.

This story was posted on January 30, 2020.