The Falcon Theater
Directed by: Joe Brancato
when it's bad, like say a hole in the wall production of Richard
the 3rd starring a woman as Richard spewing Shakespeare's noble
lyrics as one would a shopping list on Quaaludes (actually presently
continuing on a Los Angeles stage), or a Neil Simon interpretation
designed by Quintilian-esque actors lacking only their own portable
laugh track (thankfully dark -indefinitely from an off-Broadway
stage), can be worse than gratuitous root canal sans the Novocain
or a double blind date and you went in one car.
Good theater, like Lee Blessing's brilliant Cobb, however, can
make you feel like dancing a jig in the street to work out the
adrenaline rush. Pure entertainment that reminds you to support
the arts because these "Cobbs" are still out
makes the Falcon Theater/TriggerStreet's Production of Cobb so
invigorating is the delectable cast of four that volley about
the diacritic words written with grace and ease. They have no
fancy stage set - though it's clever. They have neither dramatic
costume changes nor a melodic soundtrack directing your psyche.
No it's talent mixed with all the words and emotions properly
delivered that bolt you, mesmerized, to your seat. Frankly, Cobb's
cast is so well oiled at times the rhetoric was awe inspiring
for humble thespian addicts such as I.
as you may already suspect, is about baseball bad boy and braggart
Ty Cobb. But more than a simple biography Blessing has weaved
a ghost tale with a historical spine into a thoroughly intriguing
yarn. The Hall of Famer Ty Cobb is presented in three forms, at
the same time; the elder sickly ornery Mr. Cobb played by Drama
Desk Award winning Michael Cullen, the young spitfire version
"Peach" played by Matthew Mabe (who looks -here- as
if he actually stepped off a 1912 baseball card), and the middle-aged
blunt take-no-prisoners Ty played by Michael Sabatino. The final
"Cobb" is legendary Oscar "The Black Cobb"
Charleston played by Richard
actor ricochets off each other with Blessing's words, directed
by Joe Brancato, as if in a verbal game of high stakes round-robin
catch. Timing is exact and the performances glorious. We are privy
to not just to a couple of ball players' life stories, but also
their sad demons, heartfelt regrets, their inability to grow and
the consequences that inevitably result for good or bad.
Cobb will find its way onto more stages, with this great a cast,
so theater goers can experience theater as it is meant to be;
refreshing, entertaining and a perfectly compact bit of escapism.
It's a triple header, bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded
and Cobb's just whacked another homer. This time into the theater