The Gin Game

By:D. L. Coburn
Director:Charles Nelson Reilly
Sets:James Noone
Costumes:Noel Taylor
Lighting:Kirk Bookman
Sound:Richard Fitzgerald
Opened: 4/97 at the Lyceum Theater
Cast: Julie Harris and Charles Durning

Harris and Durning are two spritely, tough senior citizens who meet over a game of gin rummy that's anything but just a game. Coburn's virtually plotless, Pulitzer Prize-winning play sets the card duel on the porch of a tumbledown nursing home. The poignant matches not only show the depths of the unlikely pair's emotional emptiness, but also their strangely combative attraction to each other. Harris masks an unexpected resolve of steel in her characterization of the adorable old lady next door; Durning is a grumpy old man who's as quick to judge as he is to shout out, “Gin!” Radiant, touching and satisfying, the play strips bare the human instinct to triumph — and sometimes humiliate — at all costs.