INOLA MCGUIRE @ THE MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATER FESTIVAL
Like a Sack of Potatoes
THE MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, SPRING: 2016
At Jewel Box Theatre @ The Workshop, 312 West 36th Street, 4TH FL. New York, NY
March 7 – 27, 2016
“Like a Sack of Potatoes” written and performed by Ric Siler and directed by Bette Siler.
This one-man show gives the audience a glimpse of the Midwest or southern states of America in farming and how the other half lives. The performer says to the audience. “Do you want a tomato?” He tells the audience that he has a wife and two daughters, and he enjoys eating the fat of the meat on his plate at the table. His wife and his daughters want him to avoid the fat on the meat. The performer allows the audience to see or visualize the inner working of a father, a husband, a farmer, and a father in law at the same time. The performer speaks candidly about his objects of choice to keep all potential suitors in line or even away from his daughters. A shot gun and rock salt are his weapons of choice. A man has to defend his daughters’ honor by any means necessary, for there are many means available in order to skin an animal.
He tells the audience that his youngest daughter brought home a guy who though he was better than him and his folks, for he was a few steps higher than the people in the farming communities although he tried to fit in miserably. As the audience knows it, farming is big business in the United States of America, and at times the populace may not agree with the types of crops some famers grow on their lands. Our performer, the tobacco farmer, speaks about the opposition he got from his soon to be son in law for his cash crop; and he lets the audience in on what he told the bombastic fellow, Jeffrey.
His description of his wife’s temperament clearly tells the audience who’s running that household as he outlines his coping mechanism as the husband of a strong-will partner. The audience hears that a friend of the performer tried to force his wife’s hands, and he ended up falling and died in her presence. In short, a man shouldn’t joke about a heart attack in the presence of his wife to test her resolve. The grim reaper doesn’t like it!
The performer’s youngest daughter married her prince charming, and the young couple moved away, maybe out of state from her family. He lets the audience know that his wife and his daughter did not allow him to be privy into the goings on in her marriage until his first visit. After the festive occasion at his daughter’s home, he informs the audience that his daughter cleaned up and his son-in law smoked cigars and drank too much. Jeffrey went to the kitchen, and the next thing he heard was a loud sound. The performer and his wife exchanged eye contact, and he told her to mind her own business.
He went to his daughter’s aid. As parents, the performer and his wife look for signs of abuse. The performer shares with the audience that he couldn’t stop thinking about the punch Jeffrey gave his daughter. At another family get together, the performer lets the audience know that Jeffrey saw him looking at him, and he offered him the fat of his meat. The performer lets it be known that he refused to accept it! The daughter went home with a black eye and bruises on her body.
A farmer’s work is never done, so the performer had to go to his barn to hang up his produce. Jeffrey wanted to be useful, too. He volunteered to help his father in law, and he seek a little guidance from the performer. Jeffrey asked, “What should I do? Show me how to do it.” Perhaps he obliged Jeffrey to the best of his abilities. He lets the audience know that he climbed down from the rafters, and he left Jeffrey to complete the task. Unfortunately, Jeffrey fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. The performer tells the anxious audience that he sat and smoked his pipe before he alerted his family about the tragic accident. His daughter did not hold on to her husband. Instead, she kicked up dust! He wanted to hug his daughter. His wife came into the bar, too; but he wasn’t too sure what she was thinking. The audience wonders if Jeffrey’s fall were an accident or an actual murder. He tells the audience that people come and go, and he mentions his shot gun, rock salt and the fat off the meat. And he ends his performance with this question. “Are you sure, you don’t want a tomato?
The writer gets his message across to the audience, for it is not wise to abuse someone who has very protective parents. Giving a peace offering is not good enough to erase the hurt. In Jeffrey’s case, he should have stayed away from the home of his wife’s parents. He abused their daughter emotionally and physically without realizing that blood is thicker than water.