By Jonathan A. Goldberg; Directed by Courtney Ulrich
Part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival
by Shoshana Roberts on 8.20.15
Christina Pumariega and James B. Kennedy in Sousepaw: 'A Baseball Story'. Photo by Hunter Canning.
BOTTOM LINE: From the costumes and script to the character development and commitment, Sousepaw knocks it out of the park as two jaded people reveal their demons.
Many people only have one love in their life. Former professional baseball pitcher George Edward 'Rube' Waddell (James B. Kennedy) will always have two: whoever the woman in his life is, and baseball. The game is stitched into every fiber of his being, despite distractions from pictures of kittens and puppies, alligator wrestling, and women. Actually, add one more thing to that: booze. He is trying his hardest to stay sober while waiting for a meeting with an old friend who has the potential to get him back on a pro-ball team.
While shacked up in the dingiest hotel room in Texas he hires a woman he saw performing at the circus. “The Reptile Girl” (Christina Pumariega) is there to distract him and keep him sober until his big contract discussion. They have the most wonderful push and pull personalities. She ran away from home with an Encyclopedia salesman at the age of fifteen and has a facade of confidence and owning her sexuality. Maybe Rube is her knight in shining armor.
Do not let the title's reference to baseball encourage (or discourage) you from seeing this play. Yes, there is talk of baseball, quite a bit, but it is only because of how ingrained in George the topic is. Sousepaw is about much more. It's also quite funny: pain and humor fuse into moments that made me snort with laughter and whimper in solace.
Writer Jonathan A. Goldberg does great work exposing the true colors of these characters as they reveal their vulnerability. I am elated that I was there to see that transition. The production's team, led by director Courtney Ulrich, delivers top-notch work. From the costuming to the script it is quite wonderful, and I hope to see it again out of the festival setting.
(Sousepaw: 'A Baseball Story' plays at VENUE #12: 64E4 UNDERGROUND, 64 East 4th Street, through August 28, 2015. Performances are Tue 8/18 at 7:15; Thu 8/20 at 8:45; Sun 8/23 at noon; Wed 8/26 at 7; and Fri 8/28 at 5. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit sousepaw.org.)