We don’t talk about the theater as much as we should around here, and what better time to start than when news surfaces about a play centering around the Detroit Lions.
Clearly a tragedy, “Lions” centers around a fan going through a rough patch in his life. In addition to being very believable, the premise hits very, very close to home for millions of Michiganians still waiting on that first Super Bowl title. Or even a winning season.
The work — unlike the hapless franchise that inspired it — recently received a favorable review from the Los Angeles Times.
Lions, the new play by Vince Melocchi at Pacific Resident Theatre, is a drama that speaks directly to our country’s current state of affairs, which is to say it’s a play about unemployment, hardship and economic collapse. If that sounds like a depressing thematic lineup, the play itself is far from being a downer. Lions takes an unsentimental look at a ravaged cross-section of present-day Detroit and tells a story of compassion in a cold climate. Melocchi’s play is a smart, humanistic though not terribly profound observation of working-class survivalism.
Especially entertaining is the plot synopsis, which is basically the lead-in elements for any joke I heard at the old-timey barber shop my father took me to get my haircuts growing up.
Spook (Matt McKenzie) is an unemployed auto-parts worker who spends his time at a local club drinking beer and watching his beloved Detroit Lions on television. Good-natured and essentially kindhearted, he holds court with his fellow football fans, including a reverend (Kim Estes), an undertaker (Haskell V. Anderson III) and a downtrodden grocery store clerk (Alan Keith Caldwell).
It should be noted that the play takes place during the 2007 season and not the abomination that was the 2008 campaign. So, if you’re looking to write that one, get to work.
Review: ‘Lions’ at Pacific Resident Theatre (Los Angeles Times)