Actors Temple Theatre, which is the venue for this play, is located in the heart of Manhattan. Opening night was Sunday, December 8th.
Set in 1945, the play centers around a group of girls whose ultimate dream is to become professional baseball players. As a result, they are put together to form a team to see if such a league could actually work. However, two weeks before they are due to play their opening game, the coach of the team is found dead. Terrifyingly for them, the girls are forced to face the drama and emotion all alone. Immediately, the cause of death is seen as suspicious by the girls. Despite being confirmed as a suicide, the cause of death is seen as suspicious as it is revealed that the coach has eight stab wounds – raising lots of questions.
Taking place during an era in American history when women were called upon to keep baseball alive while the men bravely went away to fight in World War 2, Jana spoke of how she feels a strong connection to the girls that this suspenseful and inspired drama is focused on: “Although I am not American, nor a passionate baseball player, I do understand very deeply the desire and resolution needed to follow your dreams – despite all the obstacles. I can relate a lot to these girls. They decided to prove themselves to everyone, even though many people didn’t believe they could make it, or basically just made fun of them.”
Jana also described how the play provided her with many new experiences, such as holding a baseball bat, wearing the special glove, throwing and catching the ball correctly and learning the variety of movements and poses that are used by the professional players: “It was a lot of fun, but it was not easy – I can tell you! Another very interesting aspect of this particular gig is playing with the accents. As a non-native speaker, who is working on her general American accent, I found it very helpful that some of the characters in the play were using a New York accent and some a Southern accent. That messed me up a bit at first, but later on, I found it really beneficial.”
According to Jana, the whole time she spent in rehearsals was so instructive and enriching:
“Obviously, I love to be on stage in front of an audience, but still nothing can trump the rehearsal process.”
She went on to explain: “All the analyzing and diving deep into the roles, just trying to discover what you may have in common with the characters. Also, on the other side, how to approach the things you don’t understand.” Jana said that the girls in the cast are very talented, and she believes that she learned a lot from watching them work, as well as interacting with them on stage.
Last but not least, Jana says she is “thankful” for what she learned from working so closely with the writer and director, Layon Gray. She was particularly impressed with how Gray would “handle the room” and get his intended results: “Each approach of the director opens another door for you as an actor to see the world through their eyes. I find it very refreshing and educational, and I am grateful for these opportunities to work with people I’ve never worked with before.”
Featured photo credit: Michal Lachkovic