LowellArts Players debuted their newest production last Friday. Going Going Gone kicked off a two week run with three weekend performances. It will wrap up with two more showtimes this Friday and Saturday.
It’s the second time in as many years that LowellArts has been able to host the West Michigan premiere of a play from Emmy Award winner Ken Levine. Last summer, LowellArts Players performed Levine’s Our Time.
Going Going Gone features strong performances from a small cast. The LowellArts Gallery provides an intimate venue in which the front row is not much more than an arms-length away from the action, offering a unique theater experience. And while the show offers plenty of laughs, it also explores deeper topics that will likely resonate will many in the audience.
Baseball Provides Backdrop to Funny, Thought-Provoking Story
While baseball aficionados will likely appreciate the many sports references made in the play (Brian Anderson and an iron, anyone?), you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy Going Going Gone. “It touches on a lot of the struggles we all go through,” says director Rob Freund.
Taking place over the course of a baseball game, the play is a comedy with some serious underlying themes. It touches on the future of print media, how people know – or don’t know – those around them and the importance of following one’s heart.
The characters Big Jim, Dennis and Mason are the only regulars left in a press box that used to be filled with sports journalists before layoffs ravaged their ranks. They are joined by Shana who is filling in for another sportscaster, and she adds a new dynamic to the mix.
As the game stretches into overtime, between cracking jokes, the characters grapple with their future and what it means to be remembered. An unexpected twist near the end gives them – and the audience – something else to consider as well.
Production Features Familiar Names, New Faces
Going Going Gone is Freund’s directorial debut. However, he is no stranger to LowellArts Players. Audiences might remember him as Doug, the ladies’ man, from Our Time.
“I think my heart is probably on the stage, but it’s a lot of fun to put all this work in and see these (actors) be successful,” Freund says, reflecting on his experience as director. “We got the perfect cast.”
Incidentally, casting is what prevented LowellArts Players from performing Going Going Gone last year. The show was supposed to be the company’s 2018 production, but a suitable actor for the role of Mason, an African-American man, could not be found. However, this year, Ricardo Tavarez was recruited for the part. Tavarez has also performed with the Grand Rapids Civic Theater, Heritage Theatre and Ebony Road Players.
Chris Marsh is also making his LowellArts Players debut in Going Going Gone. However, unlike Tavarez, this is Marsh’s first acting experience on the stage. Audiences would never know, though, given his strong performance as the sometimes despondent, sometimes manic Dennis.
Shana is played by Allison Kavanaugh, and Brent Alles takes the part of Big Jim. Both actors are familiar faces in Lowell. Last year, Kavanaugh was in Our Time while Alles directed it. Rounding out the cast is Laurie Kuna who isn’t seen on stage but adds humor as Randi, the public address announcer.
Freund says Levine’s experience writing for television is obvious in the play. It features quick exchanges of dialogue that help establish character traits and motivations without needing to delve into detailed backstories. “The banter between (characters) Big Jim and Mason is pretty special,” Freund notes.
Two More Showings This Weekend
If you missed the opening weekend of Going Going Gone, you still have two more chances to catch the production. It will be performed this Friday and Saturday, August 2 and 3, at 7pm in the LowellArts Gallery at 223 W. Main Street. Tickets are $12 in advance or $14 at the door.
To buy tickets or for more information, visit the LowellArts website.
Also, please note, this show does include some adult humor and adult language. It may not be suitable for all ages.