Little League: A Play by Jack Spagnola
What will tomorrow bring? Anyone who thinks they know should know better.
Posted Mar 01, 2018
What will tomorrow bring? Anyone who thinks they know should know better. Yet that question is likely high on the list of those we ask ourselves throughout the todays we are fortunate to have.
In the East Village of New York City, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I saw Little League, a selection among the collection of plays having won a slot in the FRIGIDNewYork, Lower East Side Festival. All proceeds go back to the participating company. Cool to do that, not quite “frigid.” I sat in the Kraine Theater with dozens of others to watch a sweetly harmonious ensemble of four actors for sixty minutes (One Act), as they set the stage for wondering about our wonderings.
The staging was spare but needed no more: A backless bench set on a large carpet meant to depict summer, suburban baseball stands and the earth that families occupy to cheer for their relatives during little league games.
The play moves along five brisk scenes, each a combination of two of the four characters, who are two baseball moms and two teenagers (a high school couple, on and off). Some of the scenes happen during little league games, some in the stands when no one is around. The dialogue moves from between two moms, to one mom and the teenage girl, to the other mom and the teenage boy, and twice between the two teenagers. Where better than a baseball field to talk about what’s really on one’s mind (maybe other than a pub)?
The scenes probe but not too deep. They serve to unearth and evoke questions about: being (and how to be) a parent; teenage love and its yearnings and endings; death (of a pet rabbit); pot (cannabis, not the kitchen kind); and who and what is good or bad. The tone is a caring one. The play is not out to reflect cynically but to humanely open for consideration the stirrings of our hearts and the limitations of being human.
The actors (Bartley Booz, Leslie Class, Barrie Kealoha and Kea Trevett) were well cast in their roles, keen in their delivery, and they played well together, like musicians in a good band. Their pace and rhythm reflected, no doubt, the preparation they did (on top of God-given talents) and the care of Noam Shapiro, the director.
I hope Mr. Spagnola builds on this short play, as a writer might turn a short story into a novel. There are so many facets to our quotidian lives that could serve as further text and subject additions to those already set to word in each of his respective scenes.
The play is wise not to try to answer its own questions, which allows for not going too deep in exposition in order to try to go deeper into our minds and hearts. After all, there are few true answers but endless questions and possibilities ricocheting around our interiors. The play, in fact, ends in suspense. Which, of course, mirrors our lives, in which nothing is ever finished or resolved, there is only the future to live.