Horse Cave Theatre in Horse Cave, KY, has the world premiere of Kentucky writer Larry Pike's Beating the Varsity as part of the its 2000 repertory season.
The new play, which opened July 14 and continues to Sept. 2, concerns a group of middle-aged men, former high school basketball teammates, who gather for a reunion 30 years after their greatest victory. Beating the Varsity is the 16th new work developed in Horse Cave Theatre's Kentucky Voices program, open to Kentucky playwrights or playwrights who write about Kentucky.
Pike, a published poet and short story writer, hails from Glasgow, KY. This is his first play. According to production notes, in Beating the Varsity, "longstanding friendships and rivalries play out as the men relive their big game and catch up on three decades of changes in their lives. Secrets joyous and painful come to light, testing and strengthening the bonds that still connect the teammates despite the different directions their lives have taken. The Pulitzer Prize-winning That Championship Season trod a similar court in 1972.
North Carolina native Pike, who move to Kentucky in 1976, said, "I've played church league basketball, and in high school I was on the junior varsity B team. I was never good enough to be a star, so what really mattered to me was being part of a team, playing with a group of guys that I cared about and enjoyed being with. To me, true teammates are always teammates, even if they go their separate ways."
Horse Cave artistic director Warren Hammack helms the staging, featuring Robert F. Brock as Jay, a player who achieved national renown as a sportswriter. The cast also includes Chris O'Carroll, Rick Cox, Alex Cherington, Walter May, Vickie Rogers, Joseph McKinney, Alex Eversoll, Will Miller. Designers are William W. Laing (set), Lynne Chase (lighting), Rayn Newton Harris (sound) and Marty Hagedorn (costumes).
Horse Cave Theatre is a nonprofit professional company off I 65 between Nashville, TN, and Louisville, KY. The 2000 June-to-November rep season also includes Light Up the Sky (through Sept. 16), Funny Money (through Oct. 8), And a Nightingale Sang (Aug. 18-Oct. 7), Our Town (Sept. 22-Oct. 19), and Spider's Web (Oct. 20-Nov. 5).
For ticket information,call (270)786-2177 or (800) 342-2177.
-- By Kenneth Jones