Baseball will move from the field to the stage this weekend as the Kodiak theater group FairWind Players puts on a two-man play about America’s greatest pastime.
“Rounding Third” is a comedy about two Little League fathers who have different philosophies about baseball and life.
Jared Griffin plays Don, the head coach who has to win at all costs, and Wes Hanna plays Michael, the new coach.
“Don is a seasoned, experienced Little League baseball coach,” Griffin said. “He does care a lot about the kids, but his No. 1 goal is winning. To him winning is fun.”
This is Griffin’s first time acting in a FairWind Players production. He directed the FairWind Players’ show “Mrs. Mannerly” in March.
Griffin said he took on the role because Don is the complete opposite of himself.
“He curses a lot,” Griffin said. “He’s a womanizer. He’s a borderline alcoholic. It was a stretch for me. The one thing I can identify with him is the competitive aspect.”
On the other end of the spectrum is Michael, who is new to the game and just wants to teach the kids how to play the game and have fun.
“He’s pretty nerdy,” Hanna said. “I’ve played these nerdy roles in the past, and I’m pretty good on stage as a little bit socially awkward.”
Hanna has performed in several Kodiak productions, including “Pippin” and “Les Miserables.”
As Michael goes on through the baseball season, he observes Don’s extroverted ways and begins to try on different portions of Don’s personality.
“Through the experience of being the assistant coach, being on the team, helping mentor his son and the relationship he develops with Don he becomes a more confident individual,” Hanna said.
Learning the parts for the role took time for both actors, who had 72 pages of script to memorize. To help Griffin and Hanna get into their roles, director Andrew Ott addressed them by their characters’ names at all times.
“When they step through the threshold they are those people,” Ott said. “It helps to think of the character’s backstory.”
The play is unique in that the actors bring the audience in as part of the team. During the scenes where the coaches are giving pep talks to the kids, the actors speak to the audience.
“I think a lot of people will remember their own experiences participating in sports activities as a kid,” Griffin said. “I think it will be a very cathartic experience for the audience.”
Ott chose “Rounding Third” because he thinks many people can relate to it. The themes of human relationships and conflicting personalities are intertwined with baseball.
“In reality, it’s a very entertaining show for the community,” Ott said. “We’re hitting a topic, baseball, that everyone knows and is dear to the heart.”
Students from Kodiak High School’s drama class will help with the production side of the performance as the running crew.
The show has some adult themes so it is recommended for kids in junior high or above.
The play will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in the Gerald C. Wilson drama pod. Tickets are $12 at the door.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.