There are six new plays for the season and one revival by Craig Wright. Wright's play Foul Territory appeared in the 2003 series and was performed nationally in the 2004 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The play centers on a man who is pursued by foul balls and on his philosophy on life.
Crossing the Border by Eduardo Machado is about a Mexican father teaching his son the importance of swinging for the fences. Giggles and Moans, Left on Base by Sunil Kuruvilla tells the story of a widow and a mascot searching for meaning.
Some Kind of Catch by Karen Hartman tells the story of a two strangers, a holocaust survivor and a genocide reporter, who are in the stadium when the Red Sox finally win the series. Steve Avery by Brett Williams is about a pair of stranded desperate sports fans. Sweet Caroline by Jiffy Iuen tells of two sisters that find an unusual way to honor their father. Home Field Advantage by Jenny Levison, literary associate of MST, tells the story of a Red Sox pitcher who gets traded to the Yankees. This play features Hudson County actors and is directed by Chris O'Connor, Artistic Director of MST.
According to O'Connor, he usually assigns directors to all the plays because he is so busy with the production end of things.
"I'm thrilled to work with Jenny [Levison]," said O'Connor.
O'Connor never knows what kind of material he is going to get for the series. The writers only guideline is that the play must be about baseball.
"What's really interesting about this year's plays is that they are really reflecting what is going on in the world," said O'Connor. "What is great is that they all reflect something about who we are and the human condition." "They do it with human pathos and great acting," he added.
Anyone familiar with the "Fringe Festival" or fiction slams knows that it is possible to see a really polished piece with a beginning, middle, and end in a short period of time. According to O'Connor, the 10-minute play has become popular in the last 15 years and is the equivalent to the short story in fiction.
"When I started the series, I wanted to do something unique but something connected to Hoboken," said O'Connor. "I chose baseball because of its universal appeal."
Obviously, doing a full-length production takes more time and resources. This gives the talented pool of writers time to work on other projects, since they are volunteering their material and time for the fundraiser.
"I would say these are really smart plays that are going to be really entertaining," said O'Connor. "We have a lot of really great actors, some that are returning from previous years."
The night of entertainment is Mile Square Theatre's annual fundraiser. MST doesn't have a building for their productions; instead the company has had to borrow space from DeBaun and Hoboken High School for productions. The company, which was founded by Artistic Director Chris O'Connor in 2002, ultimately hopes to build their own theatre.
"Our goal is to have a space," said O'Connor. "We are now capturing the support of local businesses and getting people that are really interested in the project."
So much of the company's dream is dependant on getting all the funding for the project and then of 'course they have to get the space. "Ultimately, we want to get a space in Hudson County that will produce work that is as good as the work you'll see Off-Broadway," said O'Connor.
The evenings entertainment was made possible by the generous sponsors: Hoboken Brownstone Company, The Burgiss Group, Corporate Realty, The Monroe Center, Paula Ohaus, Frank Raia, and more. MST also wishes to thank DeBaun for donating their theater and resources. The pre-show reception includes food from Amanda's and a silent auction for the baseball image, which is an oil painting on canvas, (on cover of this issue) painted by Hoboken artist Lou Carbone.
In addition to the one night only fundraiser, MST will perform Scapin outdoors in August at Frank Sinatra Park as part of the "Enchanted Evenings" free summer program offered by the city of Hoboken and Mayor David Roberts.
According to O'Connor, Geri Fallo, director of Cultural Affairs, helped get MST a spot in this summer's programs.
Until the time that a theater is built, MST encourages people of all ages to come support local theater. "[Theater] enhances the quality of life and is great for local business," said O'Connor.
7th Inning Stretch is on Saturday, June 24 at 8 p.m. at DeBaun Auditorium, 5th and Hudson, in Hoboken. Tickets are: $25/adult, $15/senior or student, or $50 for reception and show. All of the proceeds go toward the education programs and theatre of Mile Square Theatre. For tickets, please call (201) 716-3044.