‘The Gin Game’ Is in the Cards at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage Theater
Dealing Up an Exploration of Aging
The Gin Game explores the end of life that all of us are destined to,” says director Ken Gilbert of Donald L. Coburn’s Pulitzer-winning play. Starring and directed by local talent from DramaDogs Theater Company, The Gin Game, on stage at Center Stage Theater February 2-5, is about two senior citizens playing a series of gin rummy games at their living facility, with the tension and competitive spirit building with each round. The conversations during these card battles reveal truths about the characters: good, bad, and ugly.
“The play enters into an existentialistic environment of despair and futility between a man and a woman,” says Gilbert.
Actor Ed Giron stars as Weller, opposite actress Kathy Marden as Fonsia in this verbal sparring match, directed by E. Bonnie Lewis alongside Gilbert. Weller and Fonsia are complicated people facing the certainty of mortality, a feeling that grows heavier with each passing day.
“Weller is not two-dimensional or even three-dimensional,” says Giron. “He’s probably three-dimensional cubed.”
Marden describes Fonsia as hostile, but with a likable side that often gets hidden in her tendencies for passive aggression. “She begins to realize how her anger and bitterness have isolated her and left her completely alone,” she says.
The Gin Game is a play about the frustrations of growing old: not just the physical aches and pains, but the emotional toll of living a long life. Weller and Fonsia represent the desperate desire to be remembered even as their cultural relevance slips away. As these characters explore each other’s lives, the audience is prompted to assess their own behavior.
“For me,” says Gilbert, “theater is the art form that puts our humanity into the spotlight of examination…. We can see ourselves in the other, which hopefully ignites a conversation about what this life means.” —Maggie Yates
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit centerstagetheater.org.
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