Posted at 5 p.m., Nov. 23, 2015

Rounding up 'Rounding Third'


Tamara Rodgers

Moving along:

Nick Wood and Daniel Johnson rehearse for "Rounding Third."

Laramie County Community College’s fall play not only hits home—it’s a grand slam.

“Rounding Third” by Richard Dresser tells the story about two completely different fathers who come together to coach their sons’ Little League team: Don, an old-school coach who believes the game is only about winners and losers, and Michael, a younger coach who sees the game as a fun experience where everyone can be a winner.

As the play grabs hold of its audience, we learn of both fathers’ differing strategies on the game, perspectives on morals found within it and struggles in their personal lives that bring them to a stand-off. But none of the strategies, perspectives and struggles would have been as easily understood or felt without Nick Wood, ruggedly playing Don, and Daniel Johnson, playing Michael.

Preparing an excellent play

The play, directed by LCCC theatre and communications instructor Jason Pasqua, feels like the last summer day out on the ballfield.

Pasqua said Wood and Johnson make an interesting pair and “when the right people come together that’s when you have to do something.”

At different times, when Don and Michael shout at the unseen children they are coaching, the audience and the actors have to use something long forgotten by most adults: imagination.

It’s difficult to speak to imaginary characters with such conviction, but every time Wood and Johnson came on stage, I couldn’t help but follow along.

Balance of skill

What struck me was the play’s ability to balance the flavors of comedy and drama from minute to minute.

With the help of Dresser’s dialogue and Pasqua’s direction, Wood and Johnson manifest their personas and ask questions about life that only fiction seems should be permitted to address, while still making the audience laugh.

As the characters grow, we learn that the game of baseball is as much about the kids who play as it as those who teach it.

Often considered absurd and humorous, “Rounding Third” takes that old saying “those who can’t teach, teach gym” somewhat seriously. It helps us realize that sometimes those who are known only for their career are not predisposed to it but have to settle on a way of life that is not what they would’ve wished for at a younger age.

Don and Michael realize their disposition in life, and as their friendship grows over the season, the audience is able to accept that sometimes we need to “look alive” and take a real shot at the finer points of life to figure out what the game is really about.

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