note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark
by Carter W. Lewis
Directed by Rick Lombardo
Scenic and Costume Design by Kristin Loeffler
Lighting Design by Daniel Meeker
Props Design by Nichole Miller
Production Stage Manager Jessica Rae Chartoff
Funny game, golf.
In most games, when the ball stops moving it's called time-out; in golf, that's apparently when the conflict actually starts. In Carter W. Lewis' play, the concentration with which four old men attempt to move their white balls and themselves around eighteen holes on a sunny, birdsong-soaked afternoon forces from them quips, comedy, merciless conflict, and character down to their very bones.
Michael Bradshaw's Griff considers the game war and gives no quarter --- though at 79 he grumpily admits golf is something to do while waiting for death. That doesn't make him at all compassionate to his three friends, however.
Ed Sorrell's Milt still carries the memory of his bigger, better brother, who died of a heart attack on the sixteenth green --- the hole he still refuses to play.
Those two, despite their deadly bickering about the missing brother, are one team in this eternal foursome. Their opponents are less earthy and more philosophical. The pivotal character is William Young's Larkin --- a de-frocked priest whose sign of the cross over his hip-flask ends a prayer for one under par.
James Bodge's Ned has come to a calm, giddy relaxation that has nearly doubled his handicap. Instead of anxiously missing his dead wife, he has suddenly realized he will die and thus be reunited with her.
The play has a sprawling form that suggests it's a situation-comedy that --- thank God ---got out of hand. All four are fast approaching either eighty or the end, they are caught in rituals and memories that give their spite less bite, and each one is unwilling to face some personal, eternal question. And, for the days twilit finale, when a space-suited Alan Shepard walks in slo-mo across the green still looking for the ball he drove from the Moon, somehow it all fits together.