Road Trip to Merrimack's "Going to See the Kid" is a Home Run
by Karen Kosko
Going to See the Kid is a charming Red Sox play, which takes place in the fall of 2001. Two Boston Globe journalists head to Florida to get one last interview with the legendary Ted Williams. Ellis and Simon have different ideas, values and goals, but believe that ‘you don’t have to be on separate teams.’ This quirky tale combines friendship, loyalty, humor and affection and becomes a tribute to our Splendid Splinter and his non-baseball legacy, the Jimmy Fund.
Actress Veronika Duerr establishes her character Ellis as a feisty journalist who needs the credit of a byline to get a fulltime position with the newspaper. The Globe promotion would allow her to help her father with insurance benefits. This scheduled interview offers the potential of becoming an important milestone in her career.
Joel Colodner has made his mark in regional theater and on Broadway. As Simon, he brings a relaxed manner to the character, and manipulates Ellis, and her husband David, to accept this ‘shared experience’ of a once in a lifetime road trip to Florida to interview Ted Williams. Simon quotes T.S. Elliot and spouts his favorite piece of personal wisdom, “don’t try to predict the future”.
John Gregorio plays David, who is working on his dissertation during the entire trip. As an experienced actor, Gregorio creates several other characters during the journey, including our beloved icon, Ted Williams.
As we follow Ellis, a sports stringer, and Simon, the soon to be retired Living Arts reporter from the Boston Globe on a their assignment to visit an aging legend in his home in Florida, we learn about their back stories. Simon has chosen to drive so that this seemingly miscast new road team can experience some ‘culture’ along the trip south. Stops include New York City, Monticello, and taking in ‘Timon of Athens’ in Athens, Georgia. The journey is punctuated by quotations from T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare and Dickens.
Playwright Steven Drukman was commissioned to write a Red Sox play to fit into the “Holiday” slot for MRT. His father was a Sox season ticket holder as Steven grew up. Steven was a journalist and an actor before becoming a playwright. These three interrelated vocations weave together nicely in the creation of this new production.
Director Alexander Greenfield is a newly converted Red Sox fan still learning of the fanaticism with which people feel dedicated to their home team. Stage designer Jason Sherwood created a set made of LED lights encased in plexiglass boxes printed with actual text from recent Boston Globe articles. He recently worked on the ‘Frozen’ set for Disney.
The talented MRT team includes: Lighting Designer Brian J Lilienthal, Dialect Coach Christine Hamel, Sound Designer Alec Neumann, and Costume Designer Stephanie Levin.
Ted Williams always knew what he wanted. He wanted to be the greatest hitter of all time. Williams is universally considered to have accomplished his goal as the winner of 6 Batting Titles despite missing 5 baseball seasons due to Military Service as a Marine Fighter Pilot in WWII and Korea. He envisioned walking down the street where people would stop and say, ‘there goes the greatest hitter of all time’. ‘Going to See the Kid ‘ is the first of four World Premieres set to be produced by the MRT Stage in the 2016-2017 season. It runs until December 24th.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell MA. See www.mrt.org.
Make it a road trip to see this play. Recommended with 4.5 stars.