Whiskey fights, identity theft and brotherly love

Beer cans and tissues litter the floor, chairs are upturned and whiskey bottles lie dead on the table. The scene looks like the leftovers from one hell of a party. Welcome to the world of Sam Shepard’s “True West.” The setting is actually a kitchen shared by two brothers, who wrestle with ideas of love, hate, envy and each other-and smash loads of stuff in the process. “It’s rock and roll theatre,” director Stephan Golux said. “Shepard tells it like it is.” Along with producer Mark Nash, it’s Golux’s first attempt at this Shepard classic. “It’s one of my favorites,” said Nash. “I’ve always wanted to do it ever since I saw [John] Malcovich play one of the brothers back in the 80s.” “True West” follows two brothers-the younger a screenwriter, the older a desert rat-and their struggles to possess each other’s lives, Nash says. One wishes to have his brother’s free will and natural senses while the older wants to profit on his brother’s talents. Fistfights erupt continuously as the brothers are pitted against one another. And when they fight, they know how to scrap: Pots, bowls, silverware, cabinets, a telephone, a typewriter, beer cans, and pretty much anything else they can get their hands on are thrown about the stage. At one point a fire is started. During the melee the audience is less than a foot away from the action. “The audience has a personal response,” Nash says, describing the events that mirror something like a Gallagher show. “They’re so close. I mean they could get hit with some beer.” Although the onstage antics can be considered funny, Nash explains that this is a dark comedy. The slant he took with this piece is to accentuate the core of the brothers’ relationship-they do love each other despite the outward hate. Golux, who’s had a relationship with Burlington for decades, thinks “True West” is a signature piece for the Burlington audience. “I groove on the social scene here,” Golux said. An interesting aspect of this play is how Golux has melded the scene changes into the play itself. Where there would usually be dark lighting and a break from action, a plot along with sub-characters and music accompany the scene change-a touch Golux added himself. “True West” is a piece that is easy to follow and entertaining-not that it’s watered down, but it takes you on a ride of debauchery without having to think too hard, Nash says. “True West” will be showing from Oct. 11-29 at the Flynn Space. Tickets can be bought at the Flynn theatre.