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Donmar Warehouse: Previewed 20 June, Opened 27 June 2002, Closed 3 August 2002
World premiere of a play by Richard Greenberg. Directed by Joe Mantello with set designs by Scott Pask, costume designs by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Kevin Adams and sound by Janet Kalas.
Darren Leeming is a young iconic baseball star, living life large, male as can be, envied by everyone. He calls a press conference and, without telling anyone what he is about to do, he ‘comes out' to the waiting media. Take Me Out chronicles the fall-out as the ripples of his actions spread through the team, the media and across the nation.
"If I'm gonna have sex - and I am because I'm young and rich and famous and talented and handsome so it's a law - I'd rather do it with a guy, but, when all is said and done, Kippy? I'd rather just play ball"
Cast: Kevin Carroll, Dominic Fumusa, Gene Gabriel, Neal Huff, Robert Jimenez, Joe Lisi, Denis O'Hare, Kohl Sudduth, Daniel Sunjata, Frederick Weller and James Yaegashi.
The Donmar Warehouse continue its association with Richard Greenberg following its acclaimed UK premiere of Three Days of Rain. This, his latest play, deals with major issues: sport, race and sexual politics.
This production is being staged as part of a five month long American Imports season running from 6 March to 3 August 2002. The full season comprises:
- Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis (London Premiere) runs 6 to 30 March
- Frame 312 by Keith Reddin (World Premiere) runs 11 to 30 March
- Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan (UK Premiere) runs 4 April to 4 May
- Proof by David Auburn (UK Premiere) runs 9 May to 15 June
- Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg (World Premiere) runs 20 June to 3 August
Extracts From The Reviews
"...You don't need to know about baseball to enjoy this play, which does much more than communicate - often thrillingly - the beauty, the poetry and the excitement which Greenberg, a recent convert, so manifestly finds in the game.. This is a state of the nation play if there was ever one, in which Greenberg's fictional, world-series team, the Empires, becomes a persuasive microcosm of American attitudes to race, homosexuality and the cult of celebrity... Take Me Out is also a satisfyingly structured three-act play, with a strong plot and a succession of revelations that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Joe Mantello directs this co-production with New York's Public Theatre with superb assurance, and there are a host of fine performances..." The Daily Telegraph
"...My basic objection to Greenberg's play is that, for all its wit, it never quite decides what it is really about. You could take it as a study of sporting gayness since its hero, an iconic African American baseball star called Darren Lemming, comes out early in the action; and Greenberg captures well the uneasiness of his colleagues on the New York Empires team. But since Darren's declaration leads to homophobic jibes from a hillbilly pitcher and indirectly causes an on-field death, you could deduce that Greenberg is arguing that athletes should stay closeted. But I suspect Greenberg's real desire is to celebrate the mythic power of baseball itself... Although the play strikes me as self-contradictory rather than intriguingly ambivalent, it is well directed by Joe Mantello and impressively acted by its all male cast..." The Guardian
"...[London] seems a rather incongruous place to stage Joe Mantello's punchy, buttonholing premiere – particularly as Take Me Out is by no means a straightforward issue play about the difficulties of being openly gay in the culture of a major professional sport. It is also – which is much more difficult to put across to an English public – a giddy valentine to the game... Greenberg tends, for his own convenience, to segregate Darren's uncomfortable colleagues into people who either sound stereotypically dim or artificially educated. Mantello's powerful cast blast through these problems, however; an equivalently impressive feat would be for an English company to sell a flawed, obsessive play about cricket to an off-Broadway audience." The Independent
"...There's recently been much ado in the New York newspapers about a Mets player called Mike Piazza who has felt obliged publicly to deny that he's gay. Can't have nancy-boy batters and pitchers, can we? Still, Greenberg's tale of Darren Lemming, Afro-American star of the New York Empires and self-confessed homosexual, will get the chance to be genuinely controversial. Joe Mantello's mostly excellent American cast will eventually land up at Manhattan's Public Theatre, let's hope in a sharper, tighter production than this. On the whole, I enjoyed my evening in the Donmar dugout, but there's no doubt the text is too scattered and badly in need of a trim..." The Times