By Daniel Skora
Perhaps no sport provides as much time and opportunity for conversation among its participants as does golf. A round of 18 holes can easily take more than four hours to complete, and what with waiting for the foursome ahead of you to clear and time spent walking the course or riding in a cart, there’s plenty of time to get to know the people you’re playing with. And if you’ve been golfing regularly with the same foursome for fourteen years, every member of the foursome should have gotten to know each other very well. Or so it would seem.
Tipping Point Theatre is currently presenting “The Ladies Foursome”, a comedy about a group of women which, despite its melancholy underpinnings, is laugh-out-funny. Margot, Tate, Connie, and Catherine are four women who have golfed together for years. But something is very different as the play begins and the foursome gathers at the first tee. Catherine is not among them. She was struck by lightning at the top of a Ferris wheel she was riding on and was killed. Yesterday was her funeral and today’s round of golf serves as a memorial to their good friend. Rounding out the foursome is Dory, who attended the funeral and knew Catherine from the two weeks she spent every year at the rustic inn in the Canadian wilderness Dory operated along with her husband. With four emotionally charged ladies, golf bags filled with clubs, and the eighteen holes that lay ahead waiting to be played, there’s plenty of room in playwright Norm Foster’s script for both conversation and golf.
Margot (Amy Morrisey) runs a construction company and mixes her golf with copious amounts of beer and tough talk. Tate (Angela Kay Miller) is the wife of a vascular surgeon whose income allows her to always be the most primly attired golfer on the course. Connie (MaryJo Cuppone) is a television news anchor who loves her job as much as she loves men, and she really loves her job. Dory (Sonja Marquis) is the innkeeper who came to the funeral out of respect for the friend she came to know during the two-week vacation she spent every year at the inn.
There’s always plenty to talk about through 18 holes of golf: jobs, children, men, sex, and, of course, Catherine. And as the three women work through their emotions and share memories of their departed friend, they become more accepting of the newcomer to their foursome, who, it appears, may know a lot more about Catherine and her three former golfing partners than they at first expected. Gradually, as little secrets begin to come out, they realize that not only did all four women keep a great deal of information about themselves private, but that true friendship and the sharing of one’s innermost thoughts is more apt to take place not in foursomes, but far from the madding crowd.
Because the entire play takes place on a golf course, Tipping Point and set designer Jennifer Maiseloff have surrounded the audience with lots of green. Painted fairways cradling lush trees cover many of the theatre’s walls and a raised area center stage serves as a well-used tee-off spot. All four ladies get a workout in this show, carrying their golf bags around as they move through the course. Each time they finish one hole, they gather up their clubs and bags and head off to the next, exiting to the dimming of the lights at one of four available avenues only to reappear at the next hole by way of a different entrance.
“The Ladies Foursome” is loosely structured around the good-natured needling that occurs among friends, and the anticipation of learning what secrets were held by Catherine and the other ladies of the foursome. It’s lively, lighthearted, and loving. If you golf, if you don’t golf, if you never realized the effort involved in carrying around a bag of clubs that’s bigger and heavier than a fire hydrant, go see it. It’s a delightfully funny show.
The show is directed by Lynn Wilde Concannon. Costume design is by Katherine Nelson, lighting by Rachael Nardecchia and sound by Don W. Baschal. Tracy L. Spada is resident stage manager and properties are by Kathy Nelson. It runs through June 25th. Tickets are available online at www.tippingpointtheatre.com or at the theatre’s box office, which is open Mon. through Fri. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to all performances, based on availability. Tipping Point Theatre is located at 361 E. Cady Street in Northville, telephone 1.248.347.0003.