Writer: Ruth Mitchell
Director: Derek Frood
Reviewer: Christy Ku
‘Baseball is a haunted game in which every player is measured against the ghosts of those who have gone before’. –Ken Burns, The History of Baseball
Inspired by her son’s obsession with baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ruth Mitchell creates a one woman show, telling her story of growing up with three generations of women in a Yorkshire household and chasing after dreams.
The writing is fantastic as she skilfully weaves her son’s ambitions, the theme of pursuing dreams and home, with stitches of baseball terminology. Baseball is the backbone to this show, but it’s included in a way that makes the show accessible even if you have little understanding of the sport. She fuses in the sport’s legacy; legendary moments in American sporting history, the impact the sports has had locally in the South West, telling the stories with such fascination that the audience is drawn in. A highlight is the skillful merging of sounds from a baseball game and the Normandy landings, creating a unique sonic experience.
Mitchell shares her family history, the generations drawn to the stage and performance; dance, acting and the performance of sport. The women in her family help and hinder each other’s dreams throughout their lifetimes, shaping the love and respect Mitchell has for her son’s hopes. It’s a big dream, but she treats it without mocking or scepticism. It’s heart-warming to see her take such interest in her son’s passion – if he’s reading this, be nice to your mother!
However, there’s a question that hangs over the show. What happens when you can’t achieve your dreams, when it is physically impossible? Mitchell’s grandmother was unable to become a ballet dancer due to a faulty heart and, as Mitchell admits, didn’t have a very exciting life. It’s clear that, despite her heart, she had spark and strength, ordering in champagne – on doctor’s orders, of course.
The love and pride Mitchell has for her family, especially her mother, is beautiful. Fantastically executed and deeply reflective, it’s a wonderful play that causes the audience to think back to their own past, family and dreams.
Runs until 10 Oct 2015 | Image: Contributed