By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Technically, Joplin Little Theatre will present two one-act plays next week. But the two plays feature the same playwright and the same stories.
"I tend to think more along the lines of a sequel," said Kevin Babbitt, director of the two plays. "Because the first play leaves unanswered questions, the second puts them all to rest."
"Laundry and Bourbon" and "Lone Star" will begin its run on Wednesday and end on Sunday, Jan. 27. The two plays tell the stories of life among several people in Maynard, Texas.
In "Laundry," three women share laundry, bourbon and gossip about the town's open secrets. Two of the characters discuss their husbands, including their redeeming qualities and irritating habits. But the other side of the story gets told in "Lone Star," when the two husbands and another man relax in the backyard of the small town's bar.
The two plays were written by James McClure. Babbitt said the two plays were intended to be presented together.
Babbitt said that even though the stories are common, rehearsals are usually done separately. But the actors weren't kept away from each other -- Babbitt said that they see each other during a break between rehearsals, and that they share a read-through before beginning rehearsals.
The cast of the two plays includes Tara Clark, Tegan Whited, Ashley Trotnic, Todd Manley, Shane Hammond and Sam Hydar.
The play has familiar themes for Babbitt, who grew up in Missouri.
"When I'm directing, I'm attracted to Southern themes and characters," Babbitt said. "This play reminds me of the people I grew up around."