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Facing the Realities of Elderly Life over a Card Game

July 03, 2017 at 9:21 AM

Original Article: http://www.chicagonow.com/lets-play/2017/07/the-gin-game-facing-the-realities-of-elderly-life-over-a-card-game/

Life can be like a game of cards and there will come a time in everyone’s life that they will have to deal with the cards that they were dealt. Whether you were dealt a great, average or poor hand in life, you will have to come to the realization and make a decision that will define your outcome by determinism or free will.

This is simply called the game of life and if you are familiar with playing cards, you know that luck can be a lady. You may also know that life has a card game we will all have to play one day, if we are lucky called “Old Maid” and this is where we find two old souls looking for some purpose in their lives as they play a card game called Gin.

An Eye Opening Drama about the Frailties of Elderly Life

‘The Gin Game’ is a competition between one person that believes he is a great card player against a reluctant person that is a quick study of the game; both of them unknowingly exploit each other flaws as they bond in friendship. Director Ross Lehman cleverly shows us how ‘The Gin Game’ symbolizes life in a card game. This two-character, eye-opening drama about the frailties of elderly life is humorous, witty and filled with candor and a couple of choice words to boot.

This highly anticipated adaptation was in the making for more than five years. Drury Lane Theatre only wanted Chicago Theater legendary actors John Reeger to play (Weller Martin) an elderly, cantankerous and ill-tempered man and Paula Scrofano (Fonsia Dorsey) a sweet, lonely and scared elderly woman who gets conned into playing games of Gin for this production. John and Paula are celebrating their 30th show at the Drury Lane Theatre; kudos to them.

This remarkable play allowed us to peek into the lives of two people who had a chance meeting at an assisted living facility. Feeling alone and thegingameb-roll_selects_hires_2o9a1642discarded, they both are at lonely places in their lives and dealing with the sadness of being forgotten by the people that once loved them. Although they came from different walks of life, they both end up in the same retirement homecoming to grips with what is left of their lives.

While Fonsia is not comfortable with her new living situation she tries to adjust to it with the help of her new acquaintance Weller, who has a love for playing a card game; yes, you guessed it, it’s called Gin. Fonsia is familiar with a similar card game but needs a little help understanding the rules of this game and Weller, feeling like he has a sucker that he can beat is more than happy to teach her. As they play, something unexpected happens and Fonsia quickly realizes how competitive Weller can be and is turned off by his temper and controlling ways; especially when she wins a few hands.

With each surprisingly winning hand, Fonsia seems to be mastering the game; which makes Weller more frustrated. Seeing this, Fonsia makes a decision to stop playing and that only makes him more upset. Harsh words are spoken and truths are shared that make both of them decide to part ways only to realize that their common bond meant more to them in a place where they both felt so uncommon.

thegingameb-roll_selects_hires_2o9a1603While reassessing their lives both Weller and Fonsia recognize that their lack of family, friends and past life experiences are emotionally affecting them. As the game progresses, Fonsia and Weller get a chance to share their lives with each other and even though Weller would prefer to just play the game, they start to share more confidential perplexities of their lives, exposing their regrets, loneliness, and weaknesses.

This play will capture your attention with an intriguing and candid conversation about the final years of life over a deck of cards. We recommend that you join the game and get your tickets!

 

The cast includes:

PAULA SCROFANO (Fonsia Dorsey)

JOHN REEGER (Weller Martin)

Drury Lane Theatre

The Gin Game

Written by D.L. Coburn

Starring Paula Scrofano and John Reeger

Directed by Ross Lehman

 June 22 – August 13, 2017