Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 11, 2008

Rounding Third

Majestic Theater, West Springfield
through August 2
By Shera Cohen

It’s no surprise that the subject matter of a play titled “Rounding Third” is baseball. This all-American sport is not, however, a favorite pastime of many theatre-goers, and vice versa. The Majestic cast and crew had to do a lot of skilled work to win over this reviewer. Interestingly, one of the running themes throughout the play is that never the twain (jocks and thespians) shall meet.

Readers…not to worry. Knowledge of home plate, dugouts, and shortstops is not necessary to thoroughly enjoy “Rounding Third.” The only requirement for audience members to laugh at, sympathize with, and appreciate the play is the huge achievement of having survived childhood. There’s no doubt that everyone left the theatre having seen a “home run.”

The play takes place today in Any Town, USA. The set is simple – a backdrop fence of a baseball field and benches. Steve Henderson stars as an experienced little league coach and John Hart is the new guy assistant coach. While there are no other actors onstage, these two men, under the direction of Danny Eaton, bring to life a team of 12-year-olds, none of whom are ever seen. These little leaguers – Frankie, Eric, Timmy, et al – fill the stage. Now, that’s an accomplishment!

The essence of the story is to win at all costs even if it means tossing away one’s integrity vs. enjoying the journey while trying and hoping to succeed. Through dialogue, body language, and impeccable timing, the actors seamlessly react of each other. Occasionally, the banter is a little too fast, leaving some humor unheard or ignored.

Henderson and Hart create three-dimensional real life roles which are far from stagnant. Henderson is always a pro on the Majestic stage. It was a pleasure to see Hart return. When he was younger, Hart was just fine in small roles. He’s paid his proverbial dues in New York City and earned his Equity card. His talent continues to grow. His soliloquy in a final scene is so poignant that it undoubtedly touches anyone who has a heart.

Take a ride around the rotary to the Majestic to see “Rounding Third.” It’s “way cooler” than seeing a real ballgame, and it’s air conditioned.