by Thomas M. Kelly
JUBAL McCABE: Jubal, 60-70, is a
happy-go-lucky, wanna-be cowboy movie star. As a youngster he was a
"little Tom Mix", cleaning out a nest of imaginary outlaws in the family
backyard in typical Tom Mix fashion. Those were the days of the popular
dream: to grow up to be like Tom Mix. His every word intonation and body
movements are out of the old western movies of the early 20th century.
Jubal speaks in the dialect and jargon as seen in the onscreen ‘intertitles’
of the ‘silents’ and heard by characters in the ‘talkies’. He has been
building his own “Mixville” in his backyard in the southern California
town of Victorville. But he is about to loose his ‘Mixville’ to a
‘sleazy’ bankers foreclosure.
AIYANNA (‘Anna’): 60-65, wife of
Jubal. She is Native American. Her name means ‘eternal blossom’. She has
the patience of a saint and the psyche of a poet.
JIMOOTA (‘Jimoo’): 12-15, grandson
of Jubal and Aiyanna. Apache name meaning ‘Sun God’.
NITEESH ‘Carl’ LONEFEATHER: 55-60,
brother of Aiyanna; Head of their Native American Tribal Council.
Are our old cowboy heroes really
dead? Not according to Jubal “Tom Mix” McCabe. As a kid, he absorbed all the
heroes of “yesteryear”. In the backyard of his parents’ southern California
home, he spent his days dreaming of cleaning out a nest of imaginary
outlaws. At the cost of fourteen cents, and in typical Tom Mix fashion, he
relived the action of the Saturday afternoon matinee on the silver screen,
or listening to the CheeriosTM commercials and the “hearty hi-ho Silver,
away” of the radio serials. Those were the days of the popular dream: to
grow up and be like Tom Mix. Jubal’s every word, every phrasal nasal
intonation, and every movement were that of the heroes of the old westerns
from the early 20th century. It made good sense that he build his own Tom
Mix “Mixville,” with a museum to house his collection of cowboy memorabilia,
a barn with a corral for his horses (‘Tony,’ ‘Tony, Jr.,’ & ‘Tony II’), a
bunkhouse, an old western street (for the ‘show down’), complete with a
hotel, bank, jailhouse, mercantile and an “injun village”.
Aiyanna Lonefeather, a full-blood Apache from
the Jicarilla Reservation made her first visit to Mixville with her parents
as a tourist. On her second visit, she demanded that she be hired to
correctly rebuild what is now called the Native Village. She never left. She
became Mrs. Jubal “Tom Mix” McCabe. And after the death of their son and
daughter-in-law in an auto crash, grandson Jimoota came to live with “gra’ma
Now, Jubal and Aiyanna are about to loose Mixville to a sleazy banker. We’ll
see ‘bout that!
The garage attached to the home of Jubal and Aiyanna
McCabe. The garage, with two signs reading “Mixville’ and admission price
list: “Adults… $5, Kids … FREE! Hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm, Closed Tuesday and
Sunday morning until noon”. They are placed on the inside and outside of one
of the two sets of folding doors at the front of the set. A low bench,
capable of seating at least three people, lined up center stage between the
set and the audience.
The garage is filled with American western movie memorabilia. On the walls:
Photos of Tom Mix’s horse ‘Tony’, ‘Tony Jr.’, ‘Tony II’ and movie stars of
the era (framed and unframed), movie poster of Hopalong Cassidy, bookcases
filled with books, scripts, photo albums, etc. Set pieces from movies
(absolutely nothing new): Boots, six-shooters (cowboy pistols), rifles,
hats, chaps, an old saddle on a saddle-horse (sawhorse), bridles, saddle
bags, saddle blankets, ropes, lassos, whips, gloves, vests, a guitar, hats
(lots of hats, including a ‘coonskin’), potbelly stove, poker table with
cards, chips, glasses, liquor bottle(s), three bottles of ‘Stewart’s Ginger
Beer’ , old wooden office desk with a dial telephone and a laptop computer
(brought by Niteesh) and chair. There is a replica of the historical marker
denoting the place Tom Mix crashed his 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton, along with a
replica of the sign ‘Arizona State Route 79’ and a sign “Tom Mix Wash”
identifying the gully in which he died.
Beyond the Set
THE ‘BACK-LOT’: ‘Mixville’, built or painted flats, etc. Backlot: Jubal
describes ‘Mixville’ as a copy of Tom Mix’s complete frontier town of “Mixville’,
with a dusty street, hitching rails, storefronts of a saloons, jail, banks,
general merchandise, drugstore, hardware, feed & hay, blacksmith, livery
stable, doctor's office, surveyor's office, and the simple frame house
fronts typical of the early Western era if space provides.
BEYOND THE BACK-LOT: native village, built or painted flats, etc.: Aiyanna
has built a native village of lodges ringed by plaster or painted mountains
including a simulated desert scene.
REQUIREMENTS: For Act I, Scene One, two audience volunteers (mix of male,
female and or children) as ‘tourists’ are drawn from the audience and seated
on bench before the set with their backs to the audience. For Act II, Scene
Four, three male audience volunteers to be ‘villians’.
Audience participants must be prepped to rise and approach the stage when
cued to become part of the play. Audience participants can be offered
discount or free tickets for volunteering.
the owner and Artistic director of the award-winning Thistle Dew Theatre, and founder of
the Thistle Dew Playwrights Workshop. Local
awards: Several Elly nominations and two Elly Awards: Best Overall Production
Nighthawks and Night Café,
based on the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.
has written and produced many childrens plays.
They feature Charlie (Prince Charlemagne de Coquille), a French Briard
puppy, and Jay (Jaida de les Etoiles), a Persian Red Point feline
is not our backyard, Charlie,
in trouble now, Charlie,
up, Jay! Its Christmas!,
2006 winner of four local Elly Awards for Young Peoples Theatre including Best
honors: The Butterfly Within is included in the Eileen Heckart Senior Drama Archives in
the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at Ohio State University.
of Kellys other works:
a biographical play about Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, U.S.M.C. A man who defied the powers that were to wage a
war against war in the days before World War II: War is a racket! I was a racketeer, a gangster for
capitalism. In the 1930s, he revealed
to the then ill President Roosevelt a scheme to replace him. Roosevelt, with a Presidential
Assistant by a conglomerate of financiers, bankers and industrialists, and he,
Butler, would be appointed as the new Dictator.
Zen and the Art of Making Par, Extreme Unction
to Improve Your Life in Four Easy Moves
more recent, full-length and one-act plays.
Thomas M. Kelly
Sac Live: Thistle Dew Theatre presents comedic helping
of "Thirds" by Marcus Crowder,
The Sacramento (CA) Bee
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