By Amelia Anderson
There’s two weeks left to rock and hear the Americana Folk-Roots music of “The Spitfire Grill.” Adapted from the 1996 sleeper film by Lee David Zlotoff, this ‘little show’ of theater director Timothy J. Borquez is a transformative musical, belted with passion and set within the sanctuary of New Hope Church.
Staged with the depth of real-life characters, the townsfolk of Gilead gather charmingly around the sacramental pouring of coffee and the spilling of gossip in their small town cafe. Singing disarmingly ‘about a feeling of Hope in this good heart of mine,’ the score and vocal direction portend the touching and healing of hearts.
It’s a cleverly concealed story of secrets, camouflaged as deep as the springs that make the river flow. “To a town with no future comes a girl with a past.” Sort of an update on ThorntonWilders 1938 play “Our Town,” defining family and the spirit of America. The Spitfire Grill is an allegory of War and the generational conflict created from the spitfire planes of World War II, through the heat of the Vietnam War, and the havoc wreaked on ‘Our Town.’
The theme of redemption, forgiveness and acceptance is depicted within the family structure of Hannah Ferguson, the mother figure who owns The Spitfire Grill. Her heart is lifted from it’s burden of shame secreting her ‘hero’ son’s’ whereabouts, and her husband’s subsequent demise. It’s the shadow of the Vietnam war staining our society. And the battle of souls still struggles back home.
A new gal enters the town in the middle of the night, escorted by the Sheriff, himself! Aware that the only possible job in town and bed prospect would be at the two story Spitfire Grill, he cajoles Hannah to the prospect that ‘help has arrived.’ Hannah returns this salvo with the fact that maybe she didn’t need any help, independent until she hurt her leg.
Percy is pretty independent herself, ‘a wild bird who doesn’t nest.’ But she can bandage up Hannah’s leg pretty good, and is a game dame at shaking and baking and ‘fryin’ in a pan’, though her prior life was limited to ‘openin’ a can’.
Guarding her own secret of jail time, Percy quickly unravels those of the town. With the closing of the mill, Caleb, Hannah’s nephew, lost both his job and manhood, and ‘town life’s gone downhill’. The Grills been up for sale ten years, irritating Caleb who covets inheriting the cash. Adding insult to injury, girlfriend Shelby aids and abets Percy in a scheme to raffle it off…to the party who deserves it the most!
New hope shines through Percy’s unfettered eyes. Broadening the Sheriff’s focus, she helps him see the forest rather than stopping at just a tree. She sings of hummingbirds in morning light, and forest walks of a hundred miles or more. ‘And Paradise came down last night to wash away the pain’ … seated now on a sunset swing reveals roots so deep you know you’ll never leave, Gilead.
A parallel play, set in the mountains of Sunland-Tujunga, would chart rivers and foothill paths for a hundred miles or more. And there’s plenty of dirt on hand…in the background of everyone you see. Just ask the local gossips who buzz around like bees. With myopic vision, they shoo and sting, anyone who chooses their praises not to sing. They bite the hand that fed them, employed them, and mentored them, like Dr. David DeMulle’.
The publisher of the Foothills Paper sugar coats it not, the gauntlet of news he critiques each throw, lands upright as often as naught. It’s not a musical yet, but you can read about it on Amazon. Just type in “STARS,” i.e., Sunland-Tujunga A Reality Show, chronicled by Dr. David DeMullé himself. Published last month, he’s gotten producer calls, but I believe a movie is closer to where it falls.
I dub the alternate working title “Don’t Mess With a PhD.” Because all lame brains who recourse jealously to steal his papers, the last laugh descends upon you. Thieve forth on your childish quest, dream on, steal on – throughout the night; all the more money goes in his pocket to engage and enrage your plight. Sonia, don’t be so f…ing serious. You’ll all become famous.
P.S. Call 1 (888) 89SHOWS for Fridays/ Sats at 8. Sunday is 7:30. 10438 Oro Vista.