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'Rounding Third' ... and coming home

POSTED November 13, 2010 5:40 p.m.
JERRY BUXTON Great Bend Tribune/

In Don’s van, the two men grow more philosoph...

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Are you suffering from baseball withdrawal pains, since the Giants mauled the Rangers four games to one in the World Series, back on Nov. 1? Not to worry, friends, baseball is back. Great Bend Community Theatre will present "Rounding Third," a comedy by the prolific comic dramatist Richard Dresser, four times: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., all at the Crest Theater in Great Bend.

The comedy is really not so much about baseball, though, as it is about the friction, the clashes, the disagreements that arise between two very different men.

GBCT veteran player K.B. Bell is "Don," the entrenched, longtime coach of a Little League team. Steve Moore is "Michael," his brand-new assistant coach. He’s a novice who really knows zilch about baseball at any level. Michael also has "different" ideas about the importance of winning for 10- and 11-year-olds.

The dialog between the two men, the sole characters in the show, is "adult" at times, and hilarious. The GBCT company has rated the show as "PG-language." You know your basic personality/philosophy clash? These "boys" have got it in spades. Their views, lifestyles and ideas about coaching (and life) clash at every turn.

Don paints houses for a living, and Michael works for a company that works under contract with the government. Their formal education, "book learning" levels differ, too, making Don mistakenly feel that Michael looks down on him.

At the end of this brisk, funny show, you can learn what the two resolve about "not being friends."

The play is, is part, about letting your kids do as they wish when it comes to careers, or even just choosing between being in "Brigadoon" or playing baseball.

Marital infidelity is discussed, but ... well, you’ll have to see the show to find out about that.

Does "competitive" always have to mean "petulant"? That seems to be an undercurrent motif, too.

The GBCT newsletter about the show says it revolves around a hard-nosed Little League coach stuck with an assistant who is a feel-good dad wanting to bond with his son. The two men have a lot to learn from each other.

Susan Mills, the director, said: "‘Rounding Third’ is a comedy about two Little League baseball coaches.

Don is the veteran coach who believes winning is the the only option.

Michael, the new guy, who never played baseball himself — but did do "a little curling" in Canada — signed up to be an assistant coach to have an activity to do with his son, who also has never played baseball. Michael believes in fair play, and, win or lose, the important thing is that the kids have fun. So we have a conflict from the get-go. The show follows the two men through the season to the championship game, as we see insecurities of both men revealed.

"My casting mimics the story line in that Don is played by K.B. Bell, a seasoned performer for Great Bend Community Theatre and well-known in the community of Great Bend. Steve Moore plays Michael. Like Michael being new to baseball, Steve is a new face to the Crest.

"Both men have worked hard to develop unique characters that the audience will have no trouble identifying with."

Mills and her husband, Harold Mills, live in Larned. He is assistant director of this production. Susan has acted in and directed many GBCT shows. She works at Larned State Hospital.

Bell is proprietor of Bell Engine Service. Moore lives in Larned, works at the state hospital, and has a mobile DJ service.

Some of the dark humor of the play shows in the following lines spoken by Don (Bell): "Huh. You’re in sweet shape, my friend. You got a desperate woman hanging on for dear life, plus a dead wife, which is money in the bank. Man, you’re living my dream."

It’s about ethics in life and in baseball, about cheating and subterfuge and their opposites.

The production is being underwritten by Adams Brown Beran & Ball, Certified Public Accountants, and the Law Office of Robert L. Feldt, P.A.

If you do not yet have a ticket, the box office at the Crest will be open daily starting Monday, from noon to 1 p.m., and also one hour before each performance.


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