Rounding Third

by Richard Dresser

Rounding Third
Jerry Kernion, Kevin Symons


Director
Set Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design
Marketing/Public Relations
Production Stage Manager
Assistant to the Director
Carpentry Crew


Lighting Crew


Scenic Artist
SFX Programmer
Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Stage Crew
Cover Art
Photography

Andrew Barnicle
David Potts
A. Jeffrey Schoenberg
Don Guy 
David Edwards
MacAndME
David Elzer/Demand PR
Leesa Freed
Therese McLaughlin
Clara Dalzell
David King 
David King
Jeremy Bryden
Sean Kozma
Bill Brown
Alex Calle
Sean Kozma
Spencer Howard
Sean Kozma
Jessica Fike
Lee Webb Pitts
Michael Lamont

CAST

Don
Michael



Time

Next Season

Place

A small town near a big city in the United States of America


From the Playwright

One day my son, Sam, came home from Little League practice and announced that his coaches had provided the team with new strategy for the upcoming playoffs. When one of the slower kids on the team got on base, he'd receive a signal which meant that upon reaching the next base, he should slide and pretend to be injured. That way, the coaches could take him out of the game and replace him with a faster runner. When Sam said, "Coach, isn't that cheating?" the coach replied, "No, Sam, that's called strategy."


I was horrified. Is this how our children are being trained to deal with competition? How

Dresser
Photo of Rick and Sam Dresser by Mike Disciullo

many future Enrons are brewing on our Little League fields and in our school gyms under the watchful eyes of over-zealous coaches? What about building character and encouraging fair play? Or are such notions laughable in this country at this point in history? At that moment I knew that I had to write Rounding Third. But, as the play was germinating in my head, I found myself thrust more intimately into the fray, first as an assistant coach and then as the coach of my son's team.


Philosophically, there was no question about where I stood. Little League should be fun and the kids should be encouraged to progress at their own speed, free of the overwhelming pressure that awaits them in practically every aspect of their lives, just around the corner.

And yet, when I found myself actually coaching, I discovered that I wanted to win. I really wanted to win. That voice I heard bellowing across the diamond was, sadly, my own. Perhaps to rationalize the extent of these feelings, I concluded that since we live in such a highly competitive society, don't we have an obligation to teach our children how to succeed? Given that this is the arena where they will be playing out their lives, shouldn't we equip them with the tools it takes to win?

By the time I wrote the play, I believed passionately in these opposing points of view. We should protect and nurture our children during this brief, precious time in their lives. And we should teach them how to compete and how to win.

The two mismatched coaches in Rounding Third, the "win at all costs" Don and the "can't we just have fun?" Michael, reflect this conflict. In my mind, they never agree and they are both right. And as they struggle to communicate their opposing philosophies to the team, they reveal who they are. The play ultimately became an exploration of what it is to be a man in this culture, how having children changes one's self-perceptions, and what it truly means to succeed.

Now, when I hear Don's exhortations to the team-which are delivered directly to the audience-I hear the voices of the many coaches I've had, starting with my first year of Little League. And I hear my own voice, more impatiently than I'd like, instructing, imploring, urging the team on to victory.

And when I hear Michael encouraging the team after a tough loss or fervently praying for his own hapless son to catch his first fly ball of the season, I hear the hopefulness and the innocence that seems both entirely appropriate and somewhat out of touch.

The horror I felt at hearing my son's description of his coach's "strategy" provided a powerful trigger to write a play. But writing the play was an act of discovery, reflecting my own conflicts about how we live with some kind of dignity and raise our children in a culture so ruthlessly obsessed with material success.

- RD