4/15/2008 Theatre students present nine-inning comedy
McMINNVILLE – Baseball season is in full swing at Linfield College as theatre students present “Bleacher Bums,” a comedy conceived by Joe Mantegna and written by members of the Chicago Organic Theater Company.
The play will run May 1-3 and 8-10 at 8 p.m. and May 4 at 2 p.m. in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall at Linfield.
“Bleacher Bums,” directed by Tyrone Marshall, Linfield professor of theatre arts and program director, is a “nine-inning comedy” set in 1997 as the Cubs play the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals. A rabid cheerleader, a blind man who does color commentary, a sun worshipping beauty and a businessman on his lunch break are just some of the characters who bet among themselves and watch their favorite team. Marshall chose the play as a contrast to the more serious productions that Linfield has staged in the past year.
“The audience will see themselves or people they know in these characters,” said Marshall, who also designed the set. “That is one of the reasons I think they will have an enjoyable time.”
Marshall, at Linfield since 1987, serves primarily as the theatre department’s resident designer. He said Linfield’s liberal arts atmosphere encourages him to direct a play every few years.
“I feel I need to set an example for my students and step out of my comfort zone of set design,” he said. “Luckily, Linfield has allowed me to do that by directing this play.”
The comedy has been updated from its original 1977 setting to include more recent Chicago Cubs players’ names. The set consists of Wrigley Field bleachers against the backdrop of a sign that has the Major League Baseball logo and states, “I Live for This.” Marshall said the statement exemplifies the premise of the play.
“This is what this play is about, characters who live to sit in the bleachers and live to be a part of the game,” Marshall said.
The cast includes 14 Linfield students who have a range of theatre experience at Linfield. Junior Tess Malone, a veteran actor at Linfield, plays one of the cheerleaders and also serves as the production’s lighting designer. She has been researching Wrigley Field and examining the lighting in the section of bleachers portrayed in the play.
“The power of lighting is important in a play because it provides setting and clarity through focusing on one character or drawing attention to a certain area,” said Malone. “I also get to create the sense of a bright, sunny day in Chicago, which is simple in some ways, but will really force me to have an understanding of what the lights do and where they should be located to create the right effects.”
Tickets for “Bleacher Bums” go on sale April 22 and are $9 for full price and $7 for students and seniors (62+), with a $2 discount on opening night. Tickets are available on the web at www.linfield.edu/culture. A small service charge will apply for web orders. Tickets may also be purchased at the Marshall Theatre box office or ordered over the phone with a credit or debit card. Located just inside the lobby of Ford Hall, the box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., with extended hours on performance days. For more information, call 503-883-2292.
The Marshall Theatre is fully accessible for people with disabilities or mobility problems. Please contact the box office directly if you require accessible seating. Assisted listening devices are available at the performances.
To reach Ford Hall from Highway 99W, turn east on Keck Drive at the McMinnville Market Center in south McMinnville. Turn right on Lever Street and right again on Ford Drive. Ford Hall is located at the west end of the parking lot. Visit www.linfield.edu/admission/visit/map.php for a map (Ford Hall is number 58B on the map).