Take Me Out…
Marky took me out to the theatre on Wednesday night to go and see Take Me Out at The Donmar Warehouse. It’s a new play written by Richard Greenberg set in the macho world of baseball. And although baseball is the backdrop to the action it is also there as a metaphor. A metaphor about how individuals fit into teams. About how men interact with each other and how relationships change.
The lead character is Darren Lemming (Daniel Sunjata) a mixed race, sporting hero who just so happens to come out on national TV. His team mates are shocked. His close friends have mixed reactions. The team begins to lose it’s solid foundations. Though Darren still shines.
However when later in the season the team’s fortunes take a serious turn for the worse a new pitcher is brought in, Shane Mungitt (Frederick Weller). Now our Shane is a great player but a bit thick. He keeps himself to himself. Oh, and he’s a bigot. And a homophobe. You can see the trouble brewing I can tell.
The first chance he gets on national TV he disrespects the rest of his team mates (“it’s bad enough playing along side coons, spics and nips. But faggots?!”) Now to say this doesn’t go down too well with the ethnically mixed team or Darren would be putting it mildly. Shane is promptly sacked. But with the assistance of one of the team member tries to make it back on the team. That’s when the trouble really begins.
The play examines how friendships between men are formed and can rupture. How people become involved with each others lives and how jealously and intolerance can bring you down. Intriguingly Greenberg suggests it can be the very language we use that can cause these problems in the first place. If we fail to express ourselves properly we are not only failing ourselves and also those we are trying to communicate with.
All of this is delivered by a sparkling script packed full of one-liners (none of which I can remember now of course!)
The cast were really excellent – acted well and always believable. The staging was cool. On stage nudity was common – no more so than when six of the super hunky team mates shower full frontal a step or two away from the twin set and pearls sitting in Row A.
But don't go and see this play just for the naked men or just because it's a 'gay play'. Go and see it because it's good. And it's funny.