The rollercoaster ride of artistic success and failure is the subject of the play “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball,” which opens at Studio Center on July 14.
Suffering from a slump in her career after a disastrous gallery showing and a slump in her personal life, artist Dana Fielding, the lead character in the play, experiences paranoia and depression that sends her boyfriend packing.
After a suicide attempt, Fielding lands in a mental ward where she begins to enjoy her structured days. When she’s told that her health insurance won’t pay for more than a 10-day stay, she devises a scheme with two fellow patients to fool the doctors into believing she’s psychotic by taking on the personality of baseball star Darryl Strawberry, who was known to have a sweet swing in baseball.
“Debrianna (Mansini) wanted to do the play, so I read it,” explains director Janet Davidson.
“The more I read it, the more relevant it became. I see the play as a message to all artists who experience ups and downs in their careers It brings up the question of whether or not you have to reinvent yourself all the time.”
Sharing the stage with Mansini are actors JD Garfield, Danielle Reddick, Hamilton Turner, Talia Pura and Sharon Henderson.
“A challenge in presenting this play is how to direct a dark comedy that starts with a suicide attempt,” says Davidson. “It’s hard to begin a play at the bottom. What’s great about this work is that the supporting cast provides a path for Dana to rise up. Don’t expect any answers, however, because the play doesn’t offer any.”