Been seeing my fair share of Roundabout shows recently. They are featuring THE LAST MATCH by Anna Ziegler at their Laura Pel stage. It is an interesting concept, following a tennis match in nearly real time between an aging tennis legend and an up and coming new star. Without rackets or balls they do a convincing job of choreographing the match on stage. What comes between and what comes at the end, not quite as well.
Between slams and returns and sets and games the players reflect and remember with their significant others, providing context and background to the lives and the match. There are divergent but touching life stories for each and the performers – Wilson Bethel, Alex Mickiewicz, Natalie Payne, and Zoe Winters – are exceptional. It is an odd juxtaposition, because though in their psyches, it would likely not be what is consuming their brain power during the actual match. Still, it serves to humanize each of the players in the process. Interesting choice, but slightly off and sometimes intrusive in my view.
Spoiler alert: the playwright ends the play at deuce, in a tied set, with match tied two sets apiece. In other words, she never finishes “The Last Match.” You are left hanging after just learning all about them. I suppose she wants to allow you to finish the match in your head, but I was disappointed as she did not take a stand, finish the game, finish the play. After taking that journey, I wanted to see where the playwright was taking us and it never happens.
TOMORROW: My favorite homemade tomato soup recipe