The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
8th – 13th May 2000
NEW EMPIRE THEATRE
The action takes place in the town of Gilbert, Texas around 1978. It tells the true story of The Chicken Ranch, a local community-orientated brothel. We see some of the history of how the Chicken Ranch was founded, and then move to present day (1978), as two new girls arrive to be welcomed by Mona Stangley, the proprietor of the new Chicken Ranch. She establishes the rules of the whorehouse, and after trying to put the girls off, welcome them in.
Meanwhile, a Texan television evangelist character, Melvin P. Thorpe exposes the existence of the Chicken Ranch on live television – his Watchdog show. While the sheriff of Gilbert, Ed Earl Dodd, seems concerned about this exposé, Mona does not seem particularly upset. Melvin, however, has other plans. He arrives to move him along and exposes himself on television as loudmouthed and crass. This does nothing for the image of Gilbert, or indeed, The Chicken Rach.
Traditionally, the Texas Aggies, a young American football team, are treated to a night at The Chicken Ranch after their big show down match. This they win, and the local Senator briefs them ready for their big night at Mona’s. When they arrive, they pair off with the girls and settle down for the evening. In the still of the night, the whorehouse is raided by the media, opponents and Melvin’s followers, who catch the Senator in flagranté. The Governor of Texas is called upon to make an immediate decision on the future of the whorehouse. Under pressure, and tactfully trying to avoid the subject, he decides to close down The Chicken Ranch.
The girls reflect on their futures now the whorehouse is to close, and it emerges that there is some sort of link between the Sheriff and Mona. The Sheriff recalls how Mona had supported the local community over the years, both financially and as a provider. Mona reflects on her relationship with the Sheriff, and on her life in general, and we are left wondering what she will do next.