Lambda steps up to the plate
Take Me Out
Sometimes an important new play wins a major award but is passed over by Sacramento’s professional theater companies because its subject matter is too “hot.” Witness Take Me Out, winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play. It’s a locker-room drama about a baseball star who comes out publicly, before he’s told his teammates—some of whom don’t like showering with a gay man. There’s racial tension, too.
The show’s first local production comes from Lambda Players, a spunky low-budget community group. Naked guys are de rigueur with Lambda, but showers are a technical challenge. Richard Greenberg’s script also has comic, tragic and philosophical dimensions, and calls for a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic cast (like a baseball team).
Lambda gets an “A” for effort and passing marks overall. Juan Ramos (who also directs) is disarmingly direct as the confident star whose disclosure triggers more repercussions than he’d anticipated—including rejection by a black friend (well-played by Christian St. Croix). Russell Marsh is strong as an intellectual, “peacemaker” teammate. David Memmler is haunting as a hard-throwing, hot-headed reliever who causes trouble wherever he goes.
Some scenes are awkwardly staged, the Japanese and Spanish lines sputter, and the pace lags at times. But it’s a fine script, and this heartfelt, honest production works well enough that this show’s well worth seeing, despite its flaws. Kudos to Lambda for bringing it to a local stage.