‘The Gin Game’ explores how some play the cards life deals them

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Flying Shingle
Monday, May 6, 2013


This season’s presentation from Gabriola Players looks at how, and with what degree of self-knowledge, some people deal with their lot in life – people who may not be as far removed from our everyday experience as we would like, according to Producer Tessa Spero.

“The author uses how you react to the cards you are dealt when you play cards (as) a metaphor for how you treat your life – how you react to the slings of arrows of adversity in life,” Spero said Tuesday before a rehearsal at Director Anne Drozd’s home.

‘The Gin Game’, which will be playing at the Rollo Centre on May 18 and 19 “starts off very promisingly,” said Spero, “two strangers meet, and they start off as friends. Over many hands of gin they discuss their lives, their spouses, their (adult) kids, and then it goes to hell in a hand-basket.”

“Mark Smith (Weller Martin) and Lesley Hazeldine (Fonsia Dorsey) play two lonely, older people who live in a chronic care residence,” Spero added by email Tuesday. Although both characters “really do want to become friends,” she said, as the two act Pulitzer Prize-winning play by D.L. Coburn unfolds, “their differences soon become apparent.”

“The atmosphere of their games and their revelations of their histories run parallel to each other,” Spero said. “What starts out as a relaxing card game and friendly talk becomes a serious cut-throat business. Is Weller a wonderful player/business man only in his imagination? Is Fonsia a nice person/mother only in her imagination?

“We all want to do the best we can,” notes Spero. “But do we see how we truly live our lives? We do have illusions, too. How can we keep them intact? Should we? What would happen to us if we lose them?”

“There are two different personalities,” in the play, “and we have met both of these kinds of people. We know them, and,”  Spero intoned with a smile, “they’re on Gabriola.”

Annie Holmes is stage manager and intermission/refreshments coordinator for the production while the crew includes:  Carol Hemrich (make up); Lawrence Spero (lighting); Charlie Cheffins (sound);  Ralph Hagen, Bob Weenk  (set construction);  Jean Llewellyn (front of house coordinator).

Tickets are $15 at Artworks or on-line at www.gabriolaplayers.ca

Photo: Weller Martin (Mark Smith) and Fonsia Dorsey (Lesley Hazeldine) introduce themselves after agreeing that the ‘Presbyterian home’ “really shouldn’t take all your money”. (c) Chris Bowers, Flying Shingle

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