|Carmen Argenziano ~ Theatre|
July 2004 ~ Carmen was working on an LA play that deals with a baseball team called, Last Man Out according to con reports. It's not a nice, fluffy piece, Sel has been hearing. Well, naturally, as Carmen doesn't seem to do too many comedies. (We won't mention Rave Review or Blue Streak if you won't)
It's scheduled to run for two month starting in late September. It's a Geffen Theater production and it appears to be running 9/14-10/24/2004. But Sel's wondering if the real title of the play is actually Take Me Out?
Good news! Take Me Out has been extended to October 31, 2004, so go grab those tickets!
Take Me Out Review by Jake Fanatic
Background: An Unidentified Soul (Not Selmak as she's not getting on a plane to LA to see a play) was kind enough to write a review for the play.
But first, JakeFanatic had the mandatory Carmen encounter.
While innocently attempting to buy her tickets to the play, JakeFanatic relates, "I'm buying my ticket...and look to my right...oh my GOD! Well those weren't words in my head, what I was really thinking was Holy s**t. What were the odds of me being there, right at that very moment, as he walked right behind me!!!!"
"Ok...I'm calm...trying to keep calm... Anyway, he had a cold, at least he sounded like it from his sniffles. Somehow, I managed to say a hello after the initial surprise. Told him I was Stargate fan and looked forward to seeing the play. Wished him well. And that was it...sorry not too much...I was still in a daze...I can't even remember what he was wearing...oh he was wearing sandles, I remember seeing barefeet as he walked away."
JakeFanatic had tickets for September 16, 2004 in the second row, dead center.
Then she had tickets for October 28! In the Second Row! And while she didn't meet Carmen (not through lack of trying) she did meet two of his old neighbors who didn't have any good dirt on Carmen. All they would admit to was that he was a nice guy.
The play was excellent! I had the best seat in the house: right in the middle six feet from the stage! This week was actually the previews for the play, it officially opens 9/22, but the performance was truly wonderful to watch. It was entertaining, witty. It made you laugh and cry. All eleven guys were amazing (I'm not talking about the shower scenes here)! Jeffrey Hutchinson (Mason Marzac, Darren Lemming's Financier) was a scene stealer and such treat to watch.
Now, what you've all been waiting for...
Carmen actually played two characters in the play: Skipper and William R. Danziger.
Carmen has a brief scene in Act One but he looked so adorable in his pin stripe baseball uniform, black jacket and baseball cap! :)
Oooh! Be still my beating heart. I need to fan myself with my flippers or else Jake may accidentally overheat! - Sel
Stop it with the backflips, Selmak! That's an ORDER! - Jake
Each act starts with all the lights out but you can see silhouettes moving on the stage. So when the second act is about to start, even while the lights are out, I recognize who's walking onto the stage. Only one guy I know walks like that
Carmen opens the second act as Danziger. (Remember where I'm sitting? :) Wow!)
He's standing right there center stage just a foot from the edge...did I saw wow?
Yes, you've said it twice already - Jake, who's keeping count.
I know, details...ok... He was wearing charcoal slacks, dress shoes, a maroon short sleeve polo shirt. He was wearing a hat too but I don't know the name of it, not a baseball cap though (If you saw Season 5 episode 3, Ascension there was a picture of him, it's that same kind of hat - at least I think that's the episode where they show a picture of him with Sam when she's a girl.)
The character Danziger is narrating a letter he wrote about Darren Lemming's coming out. He says that he is ok with Lemming being gay, compliments him, giving high praise, even mentions how proud he would be if his eight years old son had Lemming as a teacher or something.
Then Carmen makes you laugh when he starts yelling about how he can accept all that - just not in baseball. Carmen in full rage, veins popping and face almost as red as his shirt! I was so close, that if he was spitting, like some of the other guys were when they were yelling, I would have been splattered! Oh, yeah...he had a fake mustache on too!
Carmen's remaining scenes, he was the skipper. Still adorable in his pin stripes. :)
(collective sigh please)
SIGH! - Sel
Big Long Suffering Sigh - Jake
In his scene with Darren, he took his uniform top off (sorry, he was wearing a red skin tight longsleeve undershirt - did I mention it must have been chilly on stage?) The props were a desk and two chairs. Oh...and a towel. Anyway, Darren was upset and voicing his opinion about Shane Mungitt returning to the team after being suspended (Shane made all kinds of multi racial remarks and used the f word not the profanity f word, the other one)
Skip tries to explain it's not his call, his hands are tied (I know what you're thinking), and he can't do much about it. Some profanities were exchanged. (Carmen's favorite profanity must be the f word because that's the one he uses most in his movies...at least the ones I've seen.)
Here's an observation, black socks make his ankles look really skinny...black cross trainer shoes, if you're wondering.
Ok, I like shoes! You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they are wearing!
But I don't wear any shoes! What does that mean? Sel
It means you don't have any feet, Sel, so I returned those Birkies you bought off QVC - Jake.
Moving along, the next scene was a dugout scene. Carmen and the boys watching as their pitcher was struggling on the mound. More profanity (Carmen...the f word ... again), did you expect anything less from a play with a sport in it? Anyway, Skipper has to pull his pitcher out of the game. You know, I'm not that big of a baseball fan, but I've seen enough to know when the manager comes in to pull the pitcher he touches either his right or left arm to signal which relief pitcher is coming in. Not to sound nit picky, Carmen touched the wrong arm...he still looked adorable in his uniform, jacket and hat! :)
So there's the MAN, standing center stage with his back to the crowd (Stop it...I know what you're thinking!). Why is it guys can still look good with baggy pants on?
The play ended shortly after that. It was really a wonderful play to watch.
TAKE ME OUT
Kippy Sunderstrom.......................Jeffrey Nordling
Darren Lemming...........................Terrell Tilford
Shane Mungitt..............................Jeremy Sisto
Skipper/William R. Danziger..........Carmen Argenziano
Martinez/TV Announcer/Guard.......Carlos Albert
Jason Chenier..............................Bryce Johnson
Toddy Koovitz..............................Ian Barford
Davey Battle................................Moroccco Omari
Mason Marzac.............................Jeffrey Hutchinson
Takeshi Kawabata........................Ryun Yu (Is he related to Lord Yu? - Sel)
Act I (45 Minutes)
FYI - The name of the team is the Empires. The play takes place in current times and could be in any major city with a baseball team. The play begins with a monologue by Kippy. He introduces us to Darren and explains who he is and how important he is to the team. Darren grew up middle class with a black father and white father. He was never challenged by anything, everything always went his way. Even baseball. He was not only the best play on the team but in the league.
Kippy also introduces Shane Mungitt, a relief pitcher that comes up from Triple A ball later in the season. All he throws is fast balls. He's kind of an ignorant, even innocent, redneck (no offense to anyone, it was a term they used in the play). He's not the brightest of men.
The last man Kippy introduces was the Skipper who had nothing but high praise for Darren. (Insert Carmen looking adorable in his white with black pin stripe uniform, black athletic jacket and black baseball cap!)
Scene changes to a press conference when Darren shocks the hell out of everyone, especially his teammates, coming out and openingly admitting that he is gay.
Scene changes to lockerroom where Darren and Kip exchange dialogue. Skippy is Darren's best friend on the team and is one of the only guys on the team who isn't bothered by the fact that Darren is gay. But Kip was totally shocked and wanted to know why his friend decided to come out now. Darren's response...he's invincible. He's the best play in the league with the biggest contract. He often refers to himself as a God because of his talent and thinks his announcement doesn't change anything.
Following the announcement is another humerous scene between Jason and Darren. Jason had just finished his show when Darren was undressing in the locker room. It's humerous because of the way Jason reacts and some of the words coming out of his mouth. You can tell he's uncomfortable and doesn't know how to handle the situation. Darren just takes it all in stride.
Another amusing scene is when the catcher, Toddy, congratulates Darren. Toddy is kind of a dork but is still in awe of Darren becasue Darren is a talented baseball player.
Darren's announcement came as the team was on a huge winning streak. They looked to three-peat as World Champions. But after the announcement they started losing games. That's when reliever Shane Mungitt is called up. Then they started winning again.
Kip, is a nice guy. He and the others want to know more about Shane. But Shane isn't a talker, he's a relief pitcher with a job to do. But Kip, who is friends with everyone, gets Shane to open up. We learn he was an orphan, as his parents died when he was a baby in an 'attempted murder suicide' in which his father killed his mother and then killed himself. (Of course, Shane's ignorance makes the audience laugh, and you even feel a little sorry for the guy because he is so innocent).
We are also introduced to Mason Marzac, Darren's financier. Mason was given the job of handling Darren's money after Darren made his announcement. Mason is a sweet guy and he's gay. When he learned he was going to meet Darren, he watched a baseball game for the first time. He had no idea what the game was about. But because of Darren he begins to learn.
Just before act one closes with a press conference where Shane's giving an interview after a big game he just one. The team is watching and were shocked. I don't wish to offend any one so I won't repeat any of the words he used They are insulting names about peoples' color or ethnic background. He ended the interview by refering to Darren as the f word and I'm not talking the curse word.
Of course Shane is suspended for his words. And Darren is starting to feel the pressure from everyone about his announcement.
15 Minute Intermission.
FYI- Brentwood Theatre ~ I discovered the theatre had just recently been remodeled to host the Geffen plays during the Geffen Playhouse renovations. Also, it was the first time in forty years the play house had been used for plays. At least that's what I overheard this gentleman say. Apparrently him and his wife had been going to the Geffen House for years. Anyway, the theatre was small but it was beautiful both inside and outside.
Act II (75 Minutes)
William Danzinger is a fan who wrote a letter to Darren. Act two opens with his monologue.
The second act is more emotional than the first. And while it was also more serious there were a few humerous moments.
The Empires are losing again. There's an amusing shower scene with most of the guys. They're talking about how it's not the same when they take a shower now. Kip points out how they all face away from each other now when they bath.
There's a scene between Darren and his best friend Davey Battle (a player on a different team.) I apologize, for some reason I can't remember if this scene took place in act one or two but I do know it was well into the play. It's a conversation between these two men that took place just before Darren made his announcement. Davey talks about his wife and three kids as it should be for men in their position. Darren says he's single and likes it that way. The whole conversation is basically, you have to be honest with yourself as well as others otherwise your whole life is a lie. (At this point Davey has no idea either that Darren is gay. And Davey is not gay.)
There was a touching and humorous scene in the locker room. Takeshi Kawabata, their ace pitcher, lost a game. Some of the players were angry at him and letting out their frustrations. Now, for you to understand this scene, Takeshi is Japanese and doesn't speak any English. The humour is that no one else does but Kippy understands the guy anyway. If you know anything about Japanese Culture you know honor is very important. Takeshi explains some of this while Kippy translates for the guys. Every win in important for one's honor. But when Takeshi loses a game it's the equivalent of death. He says he's a dead man tonight because he is the pitcher and it was his responsibility. The guys were all touched by what he had to say and leave him alone. Darren is upset after a game, that the team lost. He learned that because the team is losing, they need Shane back. This makes Darren uncomfortable so he talks with the Skipper about it. (Carmen Insert!) It's a very emotional scene for Darren and the Skipper is trying to be as understanding as possible. The situation is unresolved, meaning Shane comes back no matter what Darren says.
So Darren talks with Mason about the possiblity of retiring from baseball the day Shane is supposed to return to the team. As I said before the man playing Mason steals every scene he's in. When we see him again he now is much more knowledgable about the game of baseball. He fascinated about how it's a game of numbers. And how some of those numbers coincide with each other. You can see he's turning into a baseball junky. He convinces Darren not to retire. Mason said it would not only be bad for basefall but for guys like them. It's hard for Darren but he agrees with Mason.
The scene changes to the game. The team is losing badly against Davey Battle's team. But Mason narrates as they start getting hit after hit and the team makes a comeback and is now ahead by one run.
Mason leaves and now it's the dug out scene. Jason pacing telling himself not to talk to the pitcher, Takeshi, because he's pitching a good game. (Carmen insert) Skipper yells at Jason to not talking to the f'n pitcher and to sit the f down. The inning changes and Takeshi takes the mound. First pitch...a hit. Second pitch...a hit. Skipper has to pull Takeshi and replaces him with Shane. Rightaway there's tension. Kip notices how mad both Darren and Shane look. Shane throws his fast ball and it hit's Davey in the head. Davey's not moving.
The next few scenes change quickly as the play is nearing the end.
Next scene is an emotional phone call scene between Mason and Darren. Kip comes in later. Davey is dead and they're all a little upset. Darren still wants to retire but again Mason convinces him not to retire.
We go back to two scenes that take place immediately before the game.
First is between Davey and Darren. Davey is mad at Darren about being gay. Davey didn't like the idea and questioned if Darren had wanted to more than a friend with him. Darren loved him as a friend. Both men lose their tempers, exchanges verbal insults, until the conversation ends with Darren telling Davey to drop dead or I hope you die...something like that.
Second scene is a shower scene. Shane has a ritual of taking three showers before a game. Darren, still mad after his conversation with Davey, comes in. He lashes out at Shane and they wrestle in the shower. They exchange obsenities and Darren quickly leaves.
Scene changes to the prison where Shane is. He wants to talk with Kip because Kip is his friend. Kip brings Darren along. They just want to know why Shane threw that ball at Davey. During their heated and very emotional talks it comes out that the words Shane said at his interview that got him suspended were actually from Kip. But Kip didn't mean them, he just thought he knew Shane and believed Shane was that kind of person. So now Darren's mad at Kip. More heated arguing then Shane drops the bomb about hearing the conversation Darren had with Davey before the game. Now Kip is shocked. All of their anger is now gone. Shane is upset and crying because all he wants to do is pitch but now he's not going to anymore.
Kip's final monologue. A brief sum of recent events. The Empires win the world series. Shane was released from prison, no evidence it was intentional that he killed Davey. But Shane was suspended from baseball for life. Darren joins him on the field. After all that's happened Darren and Kip decide to still remain friends, although it won't be the same as before. Then Mason arrives, deck out in jeans and baseball jersey, the avid baseball fan now. Kip leaves. Darren is talking about retiring again and again Mason convinces him to wait. Before Darren leaves he invites Mason to the celebration party. Mason is like a little kid he was so excited.
Mason has a monologue about baseball. About how there is not time limit and how anything could happen during the game to change it. It was a beautiful monologue whether you're a baseball fan or not, all you had to do was be a fan of life. And believe that in life, there are no limits.
For Jeremy Sisto fans, Sel recommends this link.