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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Rounding Third’ a two-man show

    Michael (Jeff Scotland, seated) and Don (Michael Woodson) star in the Invisible Theatres production of Rounding Third, a play about the friendship between two Little League coaches.
    Michael (Jeff Scotland, seated) and Don (Michael Woodson) star in the Invisible Theatre’s production of ‘Rounding Third,’ a play about the friendship between two Little League coaches.

    Unbeknownst to many parents, the majority of kids playing in Little League baseball at age 7 will never enter any sort of professional draft. Still, parents and coaches of little leaguers put much pressure on athletic kids at a young age.

    The Invisible Theatre of Tucson takes a look at this true-to-life sports theme in the two-man production of “”Rounding Third.”” The off-Broadway play premieres Monday.

    The play is about the conflict between Don (Michael Woodson), who takes the game all too seriously, and Michael (Jeff Scotland), who believes friendship and fun are more important than winning for the young players.

    Woodson said that he looked at photographs of his times as an assistant coach for his son’s team to prepare for the role of the win-at-all-costs character of Don.

    “”I went back into the pictures from my Little League coaching experience for my kids. I was assistant coach for my son in the ‘Farm League,’ where the coach is pitching to the kids. No one is supposed to keep score, but they do,”” Woodson said.

    It’s not an easy job. It’s something we bring out in the play.
    Michael Woodson,
    character of Don

    He also remembers firsthand those experiences with the die-hard and unpleasant youth baseball coaches.

    “”His team was not playing very well and he was screaming at the top of his lungs to his kids. I was amazed at that because it doesn’t do any good. I thought it was kinda funny,”” Woodson said.

    “”It reminds me of Don. When things are going badly, he loses it. I had a lot of background memories to draw from.””

    Woodson said he eventually gave up coaching because of other coaches who took the games too seriously.

    “”There’s a fine line between wanting the kids to have fun and wanting the kids to learn something. You have to be a disciplinarian and a motivator. You have to make it fun, but make them realize that they have to work at it if they want to get better,”” he said.

    “”It’s not an easy job. It’s something we bring out in the play.””

    Woodson also says that next to a one-man show, a two-man show is one of the hardest things to do in theater.

    “”Basically, every other line is yours. You have to keep your energy, (your) concentration at a high level. You can’t slack off at all,”” he said.

    James Blair, the director of the play, said the conflict between the two coaches makes the show fun to watch.

    “”I found it fascinating to see that argument going on. By the end of the play, there isn’t really an answer to the question, there’s a just a common ground established,”” Blair said.

    With just two players, much weight is placed on the actors, creating a challenge for any actor. At many points, the actors talk to the audience as if they were talking to the kids on the team.

    “”It’s an actor’s piece. And the actors just take us to all these different locations,”” Blair said.

    “”Rounding Third”” will play Monday through Oct. 1 at the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Tickets are $22 to $25 per person. Call 882-9721 for reservations and more information.

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