By Richard Dresser
For all of you baseball fans that just cannot wait for the regular season to get underway on Sunday (or Monday, depending on your personal rooting interests), let me suggest taking a road trip down to Cripple Creek, Colorado for the Thin Air Theater Company’s presentation of Rounding Third.
Simply, Third is the comedy featuring an odd-couple pairing of fathers who have joined forces (albeit reluctantly) to coach their sons’ little league baseball team. But there is so much more to it than that.
Mel Moser plays Don (never “Donald” ), the gung-ho, win at all costs, experienced coach who runs his team like a military unit. Mickey Burdick takes on the role of Michael (never “Mike” and certainly never “Mikey”), the passive, having fun is all that matters, completely inexperienced assistant coach who is just there to spend some time with his boy.
I’ll be completely honest: since I tend to skew toward Don’s mentality as a die-hard sports fan myself, I was nervous that this was going to turn into a modern era, politically correct story that ultimately waters down the competitive component of sports.
Fortunately I was wrong.
Dresser’s script does a great job of showing that both characters are at times right and at times wrong. More importantly it shows how to deal with those issues in everyday life, even beyond the playing field. The story successfully weaves Don and Michael’s personal problems throughout the course of the little league season and ends with a refreshing, mature perspective on our interactions with others as we travel through life.
I’m always interested/cautious when it comes to a two man show, only because there’s more of a burden on the actors to fill the space and time. Once again, all fears were relieved after watching Moser and Burdick’s individual and collective performances. Both were perfectly cast into their opposite-end-of-the-spectrum roles, yet displayed the necessary depth to grow and change as the story progress. Both roles demanded broad, comedic moments as well as subtle dramatic points and both actors proved capable – a task that could have been a wreck in lesser hands.
If nothing else, since I am still relatively new to Colorado, the show provided an excellent opportunity to get away to a fun, new destination for an evening. I was thoroughly entertained by Rounding Third in the intimate, comfortable setting of the Butte Theater and am now even more excited for Opening Day.
Contains mild adult language. Some material may be inappropriate for Children under 13.
Show times are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 and 7 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m. (no show on Easter Sunday, April 4th)
Tickets are $15.75 adults, $13.75 seniors, call for group rates.
The Butte Opera House is located at 139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek. For information or for reservations, call 719-689-3247 or 719-689-6402.
For more information or to book on line, visit http://www.butteoperahouse.com/