Youth Baseball Coaches Face Off In FST “Third Round”


Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Timothy C. Goodwin both admit they’re not particularly good at sports.

“When I was seven, my mom asked me if I wanted to join Little League and I cried,” Mangiardo-Cooper says. “She didn’t say she was going to register me, didn’t tell me I was going. She just asked me if I was interested and I burst into tears.

Goodwin remembers his time in youth sports the same way.

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“I played baseball in high school; I was very, very, very bad, ”he said. “I was always in competition with myself. I didn’t want to look like a complete jerk in front of everyone, so I just stood there in the batter’s box with an awesome stance (which I practiced more than any other skill based on the game) and I didn’t swing the bat for my first two years.

They may not have been good on the court or at bat, but both grew up to be actors playing youth baseball coaches in Richard Dresser’s “Rounding Third”. The play begins Tuesday at the Gompertz Theater at the Florida Studio Theater.

Mongiardo-Cooper plays Don, a veteran coach who aims to win at all costs, while Goodwin plays Michael, who believes the point of the game is for players to learn and have fun.

Fate reunites Don and Michael when their sons are placed on the same team. As the two put all of their energy into trying to lead their team to success, they grope each other in the hopes of finding greater meaning in their lives.

Fate also played a role in Mongiardo-Cooper and Goodwin’s return to the stage for this production.

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“I was flabbergasted [when I found out about the audition] because I thought I knew all the theaters that would reopen, ”Mongiardo-Cooper said. “I had auditioned for a lot of things that could theoretically happen in the future, but I hadn’t had one that had a solid opening date and it was really exciting.”

Goodwin was dealing with the catering when his agent called for the audition and was equally excited to hear about an opportunity to perform again. “I think being invited to be on a new show is the closest thing to reliving that first day of school,” says Goodwin. “It’s really nice to have that feeling again.”

Associate Artist and FST Director Jason Cannon is thrilled to be back in the rehearsal room with a piece he hopes will resonate with audiences from all walks of life.

“Sport has this seemingly magical ability to not only divide people along team lines, but also bring people together. Interestingly, the fact that we can achieve something together on a playground can kind of replace or be a point of intersection between different people.

The cast agreed, “Yeah, I just want the audience to applaud me,” Goodwin joked. “Seriously, without oversimplifying, I think there will be people who will see Don’s point of view and I think there will be people who will see Michael’s point of view.”

Mongiardo-Cooper said “we all find it difficult to make judgments about people based on their behavior or language choice, and the truth is, we don’t always fully understand that every person is a fully trained human being. with a list of experiences and a reality that informs this point of view. So for me, I hope to shed enough light on the reality of these two men, not their stereotypes, but the truth of who they are.

This sincerity and the honesty of the characters also fuel the comedy.

“One of the things we talked about a lot was the intentions of these guys and the seriousness of these people trying to do their best. And the result is that the stakes are very high, ”says Mongiardo Cooper. “They really want these things to work. The characters are constantly tripping over themselves, and poor communication brings humor.

Cannon said the play is a reminder that “for all of our free will, there is also great joy and freedom in surrendering to things beyond our control. While this all sounds very deep and thoughtful, ‘Rounding Third’ doesn’t dwell on it. It’s funny, fun and honest. Richard Dresser’s writing is both dramatic and humorous, and just when you think you’ve got your arms around the relationship of men, something new and unexpected emerges.

All three men said the play also emphasizes that sometimes all we can do is try our best, try again, and try often as we constantly seek humor in our failures and problems. communication.

After being frozen for two years with fear of swinging a baseball bat, Goodwin finally tried his luck. “While I didn’t suddenly become the greatest ball player in the world, it taught me that, you know, sometimes you just have to hit the bat and see what happens. Ditto in the acting game. A lot of times I wonder what the hell am I doing: I shouldn’t be at this audition, shouldn’t try this on stage, etc. Then I remember: I have to swing this bat.

“Round to third”

By Richard Dresser. Directed by Jason Cannon. Start of performances Wednesday, July 28 at the Gompertz Theater at the Florida Studio Theater, 1265 First St., Sarasota. More information: 941-366-9000; floridastudiotheatre.org


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