The Gin Game
I asked Paul to write his experience playing Weller Martin;
I have been asked to write about my experience with Imagination Theaters Production of The Gin Game and I hardly know where to begin.
The Gin Game has been a favorite of mine for many years and I never would have thought there would come a time when I would be fortunate enough to be cast as the infamous Weller Martin.
When I heard that IT would be doing a readers production of this play, I knew that I wanted to be part of it and I knew that I also wanted to earn, by virtue of my own abilities, the role of Weller Martin.
The auditions came, I prepared myself as I usually do and I do believe I gave a good audition and as a result was cast as Weller Martin.
Each character in a play has a story to tell and my job as an actor is to tell that story as best I can. As Weller Martin I began to realize that he was one of the many people in the world who have been “forgotten”, discarded and left to live out their lives as best they can in more or less an alien world, a world they never knew when they were young, a world they never knew when they were independent and suddenly they were trapped, because of aging because of poor health in a place where they had plenty of time to think about life, to deal with the emotional “baggage” that he brought with him, and to except or at least try to except the fact that he was dependent on others for everything he needed in the way of healthcare, food, entertainment and attention.
Weller Martin was not happy and he was a bitter man, he would grow more angry exponentially with every passing day and with every inability to embrace a checkered past and to not have much hope for the future. I believe he literally drove himself mad to the point where he broke down and never quite recovered, eventually living out his final days in the state of hopelessness and self-pity.
To me, that was the story of The Gin Game, people just trying to keep their heads above water, people frustrated by the fact that they may not be the same as they were at their prime, or even the same as they were just prior to entering the Neverland of old age, poor health, and poverty.
My gratitude goes forward to IT for allowing this story to be told, to the talented Kate Muris who gave Weller Martin a run for his money, and to my friend Adaline Penn for her careful and thoughtful direction, and a very special thank you to Tom Loperich who would remind me constantly about being a method actor and thinking that by being in an old age home and re learning how to walk and to speak might be taking things a little too far.