We long suffering bleacher bums came to Wrigley Field rain or shine if they were on top or scraping bottom to cheer them on to victory, and each season held out new hope that this was going to be THE year for the Chicago Cubs. Side bets on just about everything made things a bit more interesting, so whether our heroes won or lost, it meant that someone was going home a little richer, and some just hoped for revenge at the next game. We claimed one piece of territory in a section of the bleachers and always sat together. Sometimes we'd allow someone new to join us, like a young sun worshiping beauty (Merideth Donahue) or an overbearing kid (Tom Bailey) who could recite all the statistics, but a rabid fan from the opposing team (Christin Chamberlin (Mitchell) could expect nothing but harassment as she did her best to degrade the Cubs.
During early rehearsals, everything was going along fine while we were still reading from the script, but one night I questioned the director (Rob Clydesdale) about something I noticed with the dialog that needed some attention. Unlike most scripts where the conversation followed a conventional path of questions and answers and monologues, there were only a few sections that weren't interrupted by reacting to what was going on in the game. We needed a cue that would tell us to how we should be reacting at that moment. As we neared opening night and this had not yet been worked out, we were never sure if it was a time to "Yay" or "Boo." It was a struggle to get through the show without confusion and making errors. We needed an unmistakable visual signal telling us how to react.
One night sitting at home I remembered a kids "Playskool" flashlight that I found at a yard sale. It had a switch that allowed you to change the color of the light from red to white to green. We used the green to cheer for a Cubs hit or run, and red to "Boo" when they were struck out, or the Cardinals scored in any way. We could all see it easily in the darkness of the sound booth. One problem solved! ...The bigger problem was that we had waited too long to get this worked out and in the process, we were never able to learn our lines. My solution was to write out every one of my cues, and what "Zig" Zigowski said and tape it inside my game program. So after every play, I pretended to write something in the program when I was actually checking out my next cue and line. Jennifer Rexius, who played my wife had her lines on index cards inside her purse. Scot Smigel who sat on the other side of me had his lines written on paper inside his program allowing him to see his next line. Steve Seaborn was lucky since he sat hidden behind Scot and me so he just held his script in his hands. Best of all, Matt Boehm played a blind man with sunglasses on so no one could see him look down at the bleacher in front where he had taped pages of his lines. Tom, Christin and Merideth were the only ones who were able to learn their lines. The true challenge with this show was to fool the audience into thinking we all knew what we were doing. I have checked the DVD several times, I'm sure that no one in the audience could tell we were cheating!
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