A Comedy about Entomophagy &
By Iride Aparicio
Photos By: Kevin Berne
From l-r Vinnie (MARCO BARRICELLI) and Alvin (CRAIG MARKER)
SAN JOSÉ, CA—When a play mixes in its plot “Fantasy Baseball” with Entomophagy, we have “GAME ON” a charming comedy that spoofs the Venture-Capital mentality of Silicon Valley by drawing the audience into a world of make-believe ownerships and Protein-loaded foods with names so unfamiliar to many of us, that need to be explained to be understood.
“Fantasy baseball” is a game which uses baseball statistics. Those who play it, must be familiar with the statistics of the baseball games and the particular statistics of the baseball players from the different leagues. As part of the game, those playing it, select “real” baseball players from the different baseball leagues and “induct” them into their own “fantasy teams.” The game allows them to "buy" players, paying different prices for each one of them, and even "move" their players around, from their "active roster" to a “reserved” one. As its name indicate, the game is a “fantasy” baseball game, that players could play on TV or in their own computers, but because they use real money to play it, "Fantasy" baseball may be considered gambling.
The Study Guide of GAME ON informs the readers that the Game was created as a “fantasy” basketball game by DANIEL OKRENT the Public Editor of The New York Times and the Managing Editor of “Life” during lunch at La Rotisseries Francaise Restaurant in New York City in March of l980.
The next word we need to become familiar with is SABERMETRICS which is a word used to describe any mathematical or statistical study of baseball. The Statistical analysis of baseball have been around for as long as baseball had been played competitively. They began in l940 when statistician ALLAN ROTH was hired to evaluate players playing the Brooklyn Dodgers. Later on, HENRY CHADWICK developed “The Box Score” and his tabulation of hits, home runs, and total bases led to the formulation of "Metrics." So, the word SABERMETRICS was created by the word SABER which is the Spanish word for KNOW, and the term METRICS. The word may be used as a noun or to indicate a person who knows Metrics.
Our Third word is ENTOMOPHAGY which may be described as the practice of eating insects. Because the Global Warming is changing our weather, with the sea level rise accelerating, wildfires growing, heat waves becoming more common and more severe storms and draughts, we may be “forced,” in the near future, to learn to eat worms.
L-R Alvin, CRAIG MARKER and Vinnie MARCO BARRICELLI
The World Prmiere of GAME ON starts with Alvin (CRAIG MARKER and Vinnie (MARCO BARRICELLI) watching a baseball game on television and going into a long discussion of “Fantasy Baseball” in which they talk about outfielder PABLO SANDOVAL. By their conversation, we deduct that they both are players "Fantasy Baseball," that they like to gamble, and that Alvin, which is very good with numbers, is a SABERMETRIC.
The focus on baseball changes to ENTOMOPHAGY when Vinnie (MARCO BARRICELLI) who plays a Sicilian man very savvy in the subject tells Alvin that he has “cooked” an "idea" that is not only going to change the way we will eat in the future, but, if accepted by the Venture Capitalist he wants to sell it to, make them both millionaires.
Vinni’s (BARRICELLI) idea is to farm worms from the Dominican republic, and sell them as food in the American Restaurants. His idea is not far fetched, because as we all know, worms, had been consumed for years in other countries because they are non fattening and such a good source of protein that they could replace meat.
On this night, to demonstrate his “idea” to the Venture Capitalist who is coming to talk with them, Vinnie (BARRICELLI ) has actually “cooked” a sample of his worms into little Spring Rolls which he has arranged on a silver platter and plans to serve them to the man. He had also prepared his “sales pitch” to try to sell him his idea. His telling of his "sales pitch" to Alvin, was the best performance of the night. Sadly for them, the financier, who is attending the same party, is in another room, so Alvin and Vinnie are now waiting for him to come into their room at any minute.
As in “Waiting for Godot” They wait, and wait as other people come into the room for different reasons. One of them Bob (MIKE RYAN) who is not interested in “fantasy Baseball” because is a football man. Wondering what is going to happen next, the play keeps us interested until the end,
Written by playwrights DAN HOYLE (an actor who recently opened his solo show The Real Americans an off Broadway show playing at Culture Project (until April 20) and TONY TACCONE (The Michael Leibert’s Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertoire Theater) the comedy is witty. and it is masterly directed by RICK LOMBARDO
L-R CRAIG MARKER, MIKE RYAN and MARCO BARRICELLI
Yet, like any new work, it has some details, that may have to be taken care of. Because a lot of the beginning dialogue is about baseball, some of the humor, in the “dialogue' is missed by those who are not to faminliar with the sport. Another problem with the dialogue is that it does not move the action, or allows the audience to get “to know” who these two men are. Alvin’s (MARKER) revealing his money problems with his parents, is not enough information to make us "care" for him as a person, and we want to "care" for him the way we did once for FELIX and OSCAR the men from NEIL SIMON's famous play "The Odd Couple." We need Vinnie (BARRICELLI) and Alvin to be "real" to have tridimensionality.
The other three actors, have exactly the same problem, but in their case it does not matter because they have very short performances. We see Bob (MIKE RYAN) “as carrier of a message.” Glen’s performance (CASSIDY BROWN) impersonating a terrorist at the party, as very funny, but because his spoof has no connection with the story, serving no purpose to the plot. And NISI STURGIS, performance which is charming, as too "nice" to be real. Her role as the house owner needs to be more realistic, specially after Alvin’s melt down which is another performance that needs to be commended on that night.
L-R MARCO BARRICELLI, NISI STURGIS and CRAIG MARKER
And maybe GAME ON which is focussed in two different subjects: “Fantasy” Baseball and Entomophagy, would need to be focussed in one. Either “Fantasy Baseball” or Entomophagy a subject that if used as a comedy, would made it even more hilarious that it is now.
GAME ON will be shown at SJRep until April 19. To order tickets call at 1-408-367-7255 or go to www.SJRep.com