Fine Arts Guild Presents, The Gin Game
By: Kris Hazelton
The Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies is pleased to present, “The Gin Game” by D.L. Coburn to our community. “The Gin Game” is directed by Greig Steiner and stars two seasoned actors, Nadine Streib and Michael Dzik. This bitter-sweet comedy opens this Friday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hempel Auditorium at the YMCA of the Rockies. Shows will be performed October 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. with 2:00 p.m. matinees on October 17 and 24.
The Gin Game is a story of two people, Weller and Fonsia, from the older generation who connect on the seldom-used porch of their retirement home, a dusty, cluttered place of battered chairs and cast-off household objects. Both are attempting to escape their fellow residents and the mirthless games and events the staff is constantly arranging to keep everyone occupied.
Weller, a manipulator who fiddles with cards, begins teaching Fonsia to play gin, and it turns out she has an uncanny knack for the game-or perhaps she’s an expert playing him for a sucker. The more wins Fonsia piles up, the angrier and more unreasonable Weller becomes. As they play, the script touches on loneliness, family members who never visit, the way a lifetime looks to someone approaching the end of it, the bitter fact that in this country, old people often have to spend everything they have, even selling their houses, in order to pay for the care they need-care that’s deeply resented, even when indispensable.
Director Greig Steiner said this play was originally written as a tragedy yet after audiences saw the play, they saw the humor in it and the phrase “tragicomedy” was coined. Due to the demographics of Estes Park Steiner thinks this play will appeal to all adults and said, “Everyone will be able to relate to what the characters are going through at some point or another.” He also stated that this play appeals to a mature audience and is not suitable for children as it contains adult language and adult situations.
Steiner, a graduate of the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts in California, has designed, built and painted sets, produced, directed and acted or danced in over 350 shows. Steiner designed the wonderful set you’ll admire at the Hempel Auditorium along with the help of the skillful hands of Tim Phillips, Tim Baldwin and Marshall Prince.
Greig is very happy with the outcome of this play. The fact that is has only two characters for the entire play meant that Nadine and Michael had a lot of lines and a lot of blocking to do to bring this all to fruition. He said, “The hardest part is that during all of this, they actually have to be playing gin all the time!”
Nadine and Michael were selected to play these roles due to the fact that their voices go together so well. They both are able to project and they have great diction as well. There is a plethora of sound effects in this play including some music during the intermission by the Hot Tomatoes, an orchestra from Denver.
Greig said that the play has some very poignant moments and the actors both agreed that they have gone through an emotional rollercoaster while rehearsing the play. The words touch different emotions in each actor and its been a very moving couple of months for all involved. The ending of The Gin Game is very dramatic and Steiner is very pleased with it, stating that “The actors do a fabulous job with that last scene!”
Streib stated, “We’ve come such a long way and I’m really excited for opening night. This has been such a wonderful learning experience for us all and the cool thing is, we’ve both learned how to play gin!”
Tickets are available at Macdonald Book Shop in downtown Estes Park on Elkhorn Avenue or call 970-586-3450. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $6.00 for 18 and under. At the door, tickets will cost $14, 18 and under $8.00. Fine Arts Guild members are free.