Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back Back Back

Possibly the most handsome and physically fit cast off-Broadway!   But beyond the good looks, there's a solid story here.   Not being a big baseball fan myself,  I found I could follow the action with relative ease.  The "scorecard" light board was a nice touch to keep us all informed what year, city, (and inning - there were 9) we were in.  And there's a lot of ground to cover - 1984 to 2005.  I mean as long as you haven't lived in a cardboard box for the past 20 years, i doubt there will be any surprises here. Itamar Moses has penned another scathing work - this time with Baseball as the target.   more specifically - the great moral and ethical dilemma of our time, steroids. 

  James Martinez' character (Raul), i think, is loosely based on Jose Canseco - at least with respect to the fact that he's the one who wrote the tell-all book.  Three is the perfect number of actors for this show - One young, innocent, hungry rookie, Adam (Michael Mosley), one hard driving steroid pumping player, Raul (James Martinez), and one player town between the two, Kent (Jeremy Davidson).  The triangle of morality related to this issue was clearly demonstrated by using the small cast and with only mere mention of the owners, other team members, fans, and other players.   The title of the show might be interpreted as an outfielder approaches the wall with a long hit... back... back... back... or it could represent what was eluded to in the 2nd or 3rd inning - the fact that each of these players on the same team was named rookie of the year in succeeding years - i.e. back to back to back.  Or possibly it could have deeper meaning.  I'll leave that one up to you.

Along the way - we see this playwright eloquently evolve the young rookie into a solid and mature player who can only be described as a hero for American baseball.  James Martinez is clearly the "roided-out" devil in this mess (and did i mention the rockin' bod underneath that uniform?).   Jeremy Davidson also ages during the show - from the young, possibly dumb kid from the south who makes baseball his life - and dips his toes into the drug-infested waters along the way.   How far the mighty can fall.

Don't miss this one at Stage II at Manhattan Theatre Club over at City Center.  Despite the current topic and non-fiction oriented aspect of the show - Itamar and the cast hit a home run with this one!