Linfield theater hits home stretch with ‘Bleacher Bums’

- photo by Jeff Primozich/For the Review

Amber McKenna

features editor

A cast of characters including a blind man, a few crazed fans and an exasperated wife will keep audiences laughing in Linfield’s play “Bleacher Bums.”

Originally conceived by Joe Mantegna in 1977, it takes place in the right field bleachers of Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The plot follows a group of Chicago Cubs fans during a game against the dreaded St.
Louis Cardinals.

“It is about the characters that inhabit the bleachers and their typical afternoon at the ball park,” Tyrone Marshall, show director and professor of theatre and communication arts, said.

For the first time in four years, Marshall is directing as well as designing the set for the play. He said he is excited to bring a comedy to campus, especially in the wake of recent darker plays.

“Bleacher Bums” will feature classic proscenium-style seating, meaning only one side of the stage will face the audience.

The original script calls for nine characters, but Marshall added almost twice that amount to fill up the bleachers and add to the impact of the story.

The set itself is a section of bleachers in a baseball stadium. A banner reading, “I live for this,” hangs behind the fans and truly captures the essence of the play.

“The whole show will be an event,” sophomore Jillian Haig said. “It’s more of a baseball game feel than of an actual play.”

Haig plays Rose, a nagging older woman who follows her husband to the game. She also works as the props mistress.

Another multitasker is junior Tess Malone, who plays a cheerleader and designed the lighting. She said the show will be fun and relaxing, and a good chance for actors at Linfield to show off their comedy skills.

Junior Matt Cantelon said the show will be a pleaser for all audience members.

“It’s kind of a love story,” Cantelon said. “A love for baseball and the Cubs.”

The ensemble piece showcases not one main character, but intertwines the lives of all the fans.

Many cast members said they found this show to be an opportunity to learn about the game of baseball and the way it draws fans.

“Before this play I knew nothing about baseball and I thought it was stupid,” Haig said. “I started going to Linfield games and asking questions, and now I really enjoy it.”

Appropriately, the cast held its first rehearsal on opening day of baseball season.

The comedy lasts a little more than an hour, and although it is without intermission, there is a seventh- inning stretch.

“Bleacher Bums” will run May 1-3 and May 8-10 at
8 p.m., and on May 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $9 full price, $7 for students, faculty, staff and senior citizens. Tickets are discounted $2 on opening night.

For tickets, call 503-883-2802 or visit
www.linfield.edu/culture.

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