by Margaretha Heidel
(Photos by Joe Epstein)
Everyone knows that in Baseball, a Grand Slam is the ultimate play—bases loaded and a home run from the next batter give the at bat team four runs… just like that.
Mile Square Theatre’s (MST) collection of 10-minute plays ups it to SEVEN home runs, with each play lasting less than the time it can take to find a parking spot in Hoboken!
Year after year, MST gets a few of the most talented performers, writers and directors out there, and drafts them to work for free for a weekend (plus rehearsals!) in an effort to make money for the company’s next season of great shows.
This year does not disappoint. Each short play done at this weekend’s 7th inning Stretch is a small nod to baseball or an outright hail to the Mets, with every stat in place, and everything in between.
Beautifully acted, smoothly and deftly directed, well written and staged simply, this year’s fundraiser is glorious in so many ways.
Meet: “My caring Dad’s baseball career ruined my life” rapper Andres Nicholas Chaves (“Que Pasa USA”), the marketing director Rebecca Muller that just doesn’t ‘get’ the sport and needs to shut that old man up (“Everybody Hits”), that guy that caught the home run ball which ruined the Cubs’ chances for the Penant (“Losing the Ball in the Sun”) and the sister who misses her dance defecting for her baseball sibling (“Double Plie”), among others. What blows my mind is that one can get to know a character so well in just a few lines. A definite shout out for all the playwrights.
A special nod to Bixby Elliot, writer of “Losing the Ball in the Sun” and the actors Ruffin Prentiss and Justin Broido whose synergy over the reveal (I won’t spoil it) takes us to dizzying comedic heights. A tip of the cap to the sweet sisters (“Double Plie”-Willa and Mae O’Connor) who are just beginning to realize they can support one another in their different endeavors, to “Waiting for the Lefty” pitcher Taylor Graves and her new teammates Andrew Baldwin and Adam Maggio. Kudos to Miles Square for bringing back “Ron Swoboda’s Wish” so we can marvel at Philipe Abi Youness and Nathan Kieller’s complex relationship. Gene Santorelli nails it with his performance in “Everybody Hits” as do Mike Spara and Karen Johal in “American As…”, perhaps the most timely of all the nuggets presented.
Playing to a packed house Friday, you better get your tickets now as the season for this show is one short weekend only. 7th Inning Stretch is playing Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm at Mile Square Theatre (1400 Clinton Street).
BYOCJ : Bring your own Cracker Jacks.