‘Game’ effort 

The Gin Game The Public Theatre May 27 For the past two weeks the Public Theater has staged the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “The Gin Game,” written by D. L. Coburn and winner of four Tony awards, including best play and best direction by Mike Nichols in the play’s Broadway revival in 1997. Many directors nationwide have tried to emulate Nichols’ original production. No doubt local director Fran Austin found the play a difficult piece to maneuver with its weighty themes of life-long regret and self-sabotage as a means of dealing with the disappointment of growing old. And with only two acting roles to tell the story, Michael Davis and Candace Hynkle certainly worked hard to catch all the subtle character arcs that give this play its poignancy, but they still pulled it off impressively. Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey are two bitter and lost souls on the last leg of their life stuck in a “slum” of a nursing home, where nurses are indifferent and utterly absent from the stage, and funerals are the hot topic of discussion. In order to escape their regrets, Weller and Fonsia play games of gin in an isolated corner of the home and share some flirty conversation. While Fonsia is a conservative lady brought up where playing cards was considered a sin and foul language was never heard, Weller considers these virtues admirable, but small at best. For Weller, indulging in the bitterness of a wasted life is better than ignoring it — as Fonsia does — and every other word out of his mouth is a curse — especially when playing gin. Weller’s edgy personality puts Fonsia off a bit, but she nevertheless finds his charm hard to resist. So, as she appeases Weller with a game of gin, she finds herself with a bit of beginner’s luck winning every hand in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t take too long for Weller’s pride to explode in anger with a card table flung against the wall. At times the performance seemed admittedly amateur with forgotten lines and awkwardly halting dialogue, but the more important aspects of the characters were acted with empathy, expressive body language and vocal performance. — By Dustin Allen


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Dustin Allen

  • Hot hit

    BENTON — The Royal Players’ production of “Guys and Dolls” is a treat for those wanting to catch a great family event at the tail end of summer, complete with great acting performances and a live quartet that -– despite the musical’s New York setting –-
    • Aug 25, 2005
  • Chillin’ on Easy Street

    Jazz and New York-style piano sounds are found in Little Rock’s theater neighborhood.
    • Aug 18, 2005
  • Much ado for Rep

    With the production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the Rep, for the first time all year at shows this reviewer has attended, lives up to its reputation for being Arkansas’s leading voice in theater. For all the talent available to the Rep ov
    • Jul 7, 2005
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • An uneven 'Macbeth'

    Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Theater Reviews

  • Standout acting

    In romantic 'Bridges.'
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Life during wartime

    The Rep updates Homer with 'An Iliad.'
    • Mar 3, 2016
  • A modern Pan

    "Peter and the Starcatcher" adds a modern flair to the Peter Pan story.
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation