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Lowbrow and Highfalutin

Del Shores' new play, Sordid Lives, makes small-town skullduggery fun

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Peggy had been carrying on with the town two-timer, a guy with the distinction of having two wooden legs. They always met up at a motel to, well, explore the county line -- if you catch the drift. Nature tends to call after such exploration, and when she called to Peggy, who dutifully went to answer, Peggy tripped and smacked her head on the bathroom sink, and damn it all if she didn't bleed to death! And so our story begins.

Now, Peggy's daughters, La Vonda and Latrelle, are whoopin' and hollerin' -- no, not about the activity in that motel room or about Peggy's untimely demise. Rather, they're concerned with whether their mama is going to wear that god-awful mink stole -- the kind with the head still on the mink -- in her casket. In the middle of summer. In 100-degree heat.

Ah, but the weather isn't the only thing that's hot in Del Shores' new play, Sordid Lives. Noleta Nethercott, Peggy's lover's wife, is not only aware of the implications of the motel-room tragedy, she's pissed. She aims to score some retribution with the help of her confidante, La Vonda. It's Quentin Tarantino directing Courtney Love in Fried Green Tomatoes, except these women really don't like each other. And one of 'em's dead. Add Brother Boy, the homeliest transvestite ever, and Bitsy Mae Harling, a crooning ex-con with a burning secret, and you've got more than just lowbrow humor. You've got highfalutin comedy.

Sordid Lives is another winner from Shores, who also penned the award-winning Daddy's Dyin' ...Who's Got the Will? In keeping with the small-town theme, Shores has crafted a hilarious tale with more hooks than a fully barbed briar.

Sordid Lives is performed at 2 p.m. July 29 and 30, Aug. 2, 6, 12, 16 and 24, and Sept. 2; and at 8:15 p.m. July 29, Aug. 2, 4, 12 and 16, and Sept. 2 at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Mo. Cost is $11-$21. Call 606-837-3311 for more info.