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OREGON TRAIL RUTS ACROSS GERDING THEATER

oregon trail

Image via broadwayworld.com

 “The Oregon Trail” Cast and Creative Team

The Oregon Trail
By Bekah Brunstetter
Directed by Rose Riordan
The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

A wagon train brain with Oregon Trail ruts.

First things first, Bekah Brunstetter’s play The Oregon Trail is a great date for baby boomers.

Passed between an early pioneer girl and a 1990’s teen, they ask the question we all ask:

“Now what?”

Neither contemporary or nostalgic, it’s a smart journey.

Through loss and meaning, search and discovery, this Oregon Trail is a rough ride.

So what makes it a date play?

Brunstetter wrote a play with the sort of insider info you never get to talk about afterwards.

It was a breath of fresh air.

ME: “Honey, do you remember when you used to smell like cheese?”

HER: “It’s yeast, and it grows everywhere, under your arms, your moobs, crotch, the works.”

“Moobs? You mean boobs”

“Moobs.”

“Did anyone ever complain about cheese when you were in junior high? Like your girlfriends?”

“That’s why people take showers, dear.”

“What about your hippie days? Was that what patchouli oil was all about? Yeast funk?”

“No. I still use it.”

“I know.”

“You said you like patchouli oil.”

“Yes, I do. Everybody likes patchouli oil.”

The Oregon Trail rode to the heartland early.

The sadness Bekah Brunstetter brings to light is perfect for boomers, more accustomed to losing loved ones than they want to admit.

My mother and father passed a few years back, a family journey you take with a heavy heart.

The mom who broke the mold for mothers-in-law passed a couple of months ago.

Brunstetter seems to know this place inside out, and by the look of the audience I shared her play with, they did too.

They looked like pioneer stock.

Nearly one in ten who set off on the Oregon Trail did not survive. The two biggest causes of death were disease and accidents.

Spoiler alert: Bekah’s Oregon Trail was closer to one in three, and it felt right.

ME: “How do you carry on? How does anyone carry on?”

HER: “It’s what we do, how we’re wired.”

“To push on? Move on?”

“Remember the part where the two Janes crossed into the same frame?”

“Yes, like the past meeting the future, like when we got married and had kids.”

“What? Okay, like the time you said, “You know, maybe we, um, we could, if you’ve been thinking about us, maybe we ought to, you know, get married?”

“Yes, like that.”

“Right, and that moment showed the audience how the roots you start with commingle with the life you live and your ancestry.”

“You’re so smart.”

“And you’re such a good listener.”

“I’m a good listener?”

“Throwing a bone there.”

“Got it. So will you.”

“It’s still early.”

About David Gillaspie
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