Most theater fans are accustomed to the usual theater format—a couple acts, each of several scenes. But in Defiance College’s DC Players production of the wild and crazy “Bleacher Bums,” the audience will find them selves faced with a nine inning show instead. Performances are slated for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, March 19, 20, and 21, at 8 p.m. in Defiance College’s Schomburg Auditorium.
Originally conceived by Joe Mantegna in 1977 as improv theater, the show takes place in the right field bleachers of Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Cubbys are facing archrivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. The fans we find in the bleachers are typical die-hard Cub fans, but hardly “normal.” There is a rabid cheerleader (Adam Schlett) who does his best to inspire the fans to make some noise while he generally is disruptive of the game. A young man blind from birth, Greg (Shorty Williamson), follows the game on his transistor radio and enacts his own continuous play by play. A young bathing beauty obviously only comes to the game for a chance to soak up the rays, Melody King (Kaitlin Switzer), and is sure to be hit upon at least once.
As the action goes on on the field (complete with the National Anthem and seventh-inning stretch), the action in the right field bleachers is primarily one of betting on every thing conceivable. But the betting is generously interrupted with the requisite trips to the refreshment stand. Zig (Steve Hinkle) is a typical loud mouthed, bear drinking good-old-boy and is generous with his money on inane bets. Enough so that his wife, Rose (Jerika Hennes) shows up to attempt to control his throwing away their money. She finally proceeds to bet the opposite side to him, assuring at least a break even.
Obviously, someone needs to bet against the hapless Cubbys. That would be Marvin (Don Garwood). He manages to clean up as the Cubs blow it in the ninth inning. Greg, the blind fan, ends the show with an impassioned monologue that pretty well explains the determination of fans who refuse to be dissuaded season after season: “…they’re not only gonna win tomorrow, but they’re gonna take the rest of this series. Then they’re gonna win three from Pittsburgh……..And at the end of the season they’re gonna win the pennant.”
The show is directed by Ken Neuenschwander with background music by Janet Lyne. General admission seating is $8 for adults and $6 for students. Seating will be available at the door an hour before each performance. However, tickets may be reserved for specific performances by calling 419 783-2462 or by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 20, 2009