THE ADVENTURES OF HOMER McGUNDY, REVISED
by Barbara Lebow
by Barbara Lebow
The darkly humorous exploitation of a Wild West outlaw's death and contrived legend is used as a metaphor for an exploration of our culture's preoccupation with celebrities and our fascination with them even after their deaths.
Homer McGundy, a minor outlaw in Oklahoma, 1911, is determined to live up to the fearsome reputation of his famous deceased mentor, Tim Farady, and also to have an influence on Farady's 16-year-old son, Tim Jr. The lonely boy wants to follow in his father's and McGundy's heroic footsteps. After Homer is killed in a botched train robbery, his body is purchased by the clever and chameleon-like "Dr." Emil Proctor, who charges admission to a public eager to see the preserved remains.
For two decades, from Oklahoma to Proctor's traveling medicine show to the early days of Hollywood's singing westerns, McGundy's reputation is exaggerated and distorted by the clever and manipulative Proctor. Tim, repeatedly tricked by Proctor, tries to remain faithful to Homer's memory -- and to finally get him buried -- while planning revenge on Proctor.
“Barbara Lebow has a winner on her hands… a masterfully conceived Western about how real-life outlaws on the lone prairie became Hollywood’s singing cowboys in the movies. 'McGundy' is a fascinating and entertaining exploration of American myth-making about the Old West and the effects of technology on frontiersmen who spoke most meaningfully with their six-shooters.”
—The Atlanta Constitution.
"... an extraordinarily original play dealing with myth, reality and normalcy...it is the best attempt I've seen to deal with the myth of the American West in a thoughtful, intelligent fashion."
—The Emory Wheel.