The Gin Game: A Complex Tale Told Simply

 

By John Farrell

The Gin Game started in an equity-waiver theater in Hollywood in 1976.

Since then, it has gone on to conquer Broadway, the United States and the world. The play, with just two actors, is a tour-de-force, a package that combines comedy and tragedy in a single, simple set.

Its first great couple, 30 and more years ago, was Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Since then, it has been all over the world, in Europe, Israel, China and Japan.

Now, The Gin Game is playing at San Pedro’s Little Fish Theatre. It still touches hearts with its simplicity and hidden complexity.

Mary-Margaret Lewis is Fonsia Dorsey and Dennis Hattem (making his Little Fish debut) is Weller Martin, two residents of a home for the aged. They meet on the sun-porch of that home and Weller invites Fonsia to play Gin with him.

It looks like romance is going to strike these two, but the play is much more complex and profound. Hattem’s Weller is charming and ingratiating, but he also has a violent temper and a past that includes some very great disappointments. Lewis is also a charmer at first, until Weller begins to unravel her secrets and her past.

They play cards, they even dance, but there is also bitterness and loss. The Gin Game is not what you expect. It isn’t a polite comedy, but an intriguing, poetic comedy. A true story of the end of life.

Director Danielle Ozymandias keeps the play simple and lets the two actors carry the show.

Tickets are $27, $24 for seniors. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with one matinee of May 11, through May 24.

Details: (310) 512-6030www.littlefishtheatre.org
Venue: Little Fish Theatre
Location: 777 Centre St., San Pedro

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