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Matt Shea, Christopher T. Wood and Marisa Drammisi in Ball Yards at the Zephyr Theatre. (Photo by Ed Krieger)
Matt Shea, Christopher T. Wood and Marisa Drammisi in Ball Yards<\I> at the Zephyr Theatre. (Photo by Ed Krieger)

Ball Yards

Reviewed by Neal Weaver
Zephyr Theatre
Through August 27

Playwright Chuck Faerber looks with a satiric, goofy and sometimes jaundiced eye at what he calls “the real American religion: sports.” In this series of comic sketches, he casts a wide net, examining the players, the coaches, the TV commentators and producers, the Ku Klux Klan —and Condoleezza Rice.

We’re introduced to a rapping football coach (Byron Hays), an ancient Mayan athlete (Christopher T. Wood), a sports-obsessed poet laureate (Matt Shea), and a transgendered (female to male) sports-oriented talk show host (Scott Keiji Takeda). The Grand Kleagle of the Klan (John Marzilli) takes golfing lessons from a pro (Mike Ross), who is financed by President Trump’s program to assist Angry White Men till he’s taken in hand by a benevolent Condi Rice (Wood). And a couple of TV commentators (Ross and Hays) consider themselves high priests in the service of Dodger Blue, and conduct their rituals with Necco wafers serving as the host.

The writing is a bit uneven, the targets are often obvious and predictable, and not all the sketches come off, but enough of them score to keep the audience amused. The expert ensemble makes the most of the material they are given, with special praise for Marzilli, Wood, and Shea. Director Richard Kuhlman clearly has an affinity for the material, and gives it a lively production.

 

Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; (323) 960-7738 or www.Plays411.com/ballyards. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

 

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