Playwright Preston Jones is best remembered for “A Texas Trilogy,” an evocative depiction of small town Texas life.
Born in Albuquerque, N.M., on April 7, 1936, Jones developed an interest in the dramatic arts and after graduating from the University of New Mexico, he took a teaching position, but was steered by drama professor Eddie Snapp to study theater at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
At the time, Baylor’s Drama Department was headed by Snapp’s former Yale classmate, Paul Baker, a nationally known figure in regional and experimental theater.
Jones applied successfully to Baylor and while waiting to enroll, worked for the highway department in Colorado City, Texas, the place which later formed the basis for Bradleyville, the setting for A Texas Trilogy, one part of which is “Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander.”
In 1959, Baker became director of the newly formed Dallas Theater Center, which he headed in conjunction with his position as a drama department chairman.
Baker invited Jones to join the DTC during his first year as a student at Baylor thus beginning the association with an important regional theater that lasted until the end of his life.
In line with Baker’s philosophy of non-specialization, Jones performed all duties in the theater, actor, director, stage manager, ticket taker, and others.
As an actor, he appeared in “Julius Caesar,” “Journey to Jefferson,” “Medea,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “What Price Glory” and “The Girl of the Golden West.” He played the stage manager in “Our Town” and Henry Drummond in “Inherit the Wind.”
Jones directing projects included “Under the Yum-Yum Tree,” “Barefoot in the Park” and “The Knack.”
Jones was to credit this varied experience in the theater for his success in writing material for the stage.
As part of “A Texas Trilogy,” “Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander” presents a comic and poignant tale of life in Bradleyville, a small West Texas town.
“Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander” opens at Ennis Public Theatre on June 5, and runs weekends through June 28. Evening curtains are at 8 p.m. and the Sunday, June 28, matinee curtain is at 2:30 p.m.
Ennis Public Theatre is a not for profit organization serving Ellis and the surrounding counties.
For more information, contact the theatre via e-mail Ennispublictheatre@yahoo.com, or by calling 972-878-7529. Visit the web site www.ennispublictheatre.com.