Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Rounding Third "You can observe a lot by watching," Yogi Berra once said. In Richard Dresser's warm little comedy about baseball and friendship, two coaches--one a veteran, one a newbie--watch their Chicago Little League team progress through a season. And we watch them watching baseball games we can't really see. Somehow it works, making for a winning play about wanting to win. Don (Doug Jackson, channeling Bob Elliott of Bob and Ray) is the die-hard coach whose 12-year-old son is about to age out of the league. Michael (Jeffrey Schmidt), a young widower with a clumsy kid, is the new assistant, so green he's not sure what a fungo is. Sharing the bench during games and practices, Don and Michael get to know each other the way men do, by talking sports and women. "Why do you coach?" Michael asks Don, who answers, "Why does Sinatra sing?" Thinking about baseball takes up 55 percent of Don's waking thoughts, followed by money, sex and "revenge fantasies." Between the wisecracks, the play also says serious things about middle-class men leading lives of quiet desperation. "Ever notice who the happy people are? Winners," says Don. "Everybody else is 30 seconds away from blowing their brains out." Nice subtle work from the two actors under the direction of T.J. Walsh. Continues through November 20 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St. in the Quadrangle, 214-871-3300. (E.L.)

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