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Stage Beat

'Balm in Gilead' by Friends and Artists; 'Richard III' at Actors Alley 'Mayhem at Mayfield Mall III' at Al's Bar; 'Gameface' at the Flight

March 17, 1989|RAY LOYND

At 305 S. Hewitt St., concluding Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $6. (213) 680-7785. 'Gameface'

Given the current exposes of steroid abuse, "Gameface," at the Flight Theater, couldn't be more timely. Two former football players, Russ Bolinger and John Schalter, co-wrote--and co-star in--a gritty gridiron locker room drama centered on an aging drug-abusing superstar played with credible edge by Bolinger (who toiled 10 years as a pass protector for the Detroit Lions and the L.A. Rams).

The players drift in, strip from their street clothes into their silver and gold uniforms, and prepare, through obscenity, anger and nervous camaraderie, for a playoff game that could send them to the Super Bowl.

The production has texture and one exceptional actor, Art Frankel as the trainer called Mother, whose understated performance is a gem. But cliches, notably an obnoxious sportswriter, an unscrupulous owner and a callow assistant coach, not to mention raunchy sexual banter, seriously mar the play.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday March 18, 1989 Home Edition Calendar Part 5 Page 8 Column 6 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
"Richard III" is being staged by the Shakespeare Society of America at the Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. A headline in Friday's Calendar incorrectly stated that it was playing at Actors Alley.

Nevertheless, despite the melodrama, there's an elemental drama here, a jaundiced and knowing inside look at the sport. Drugs are dramatized almost off-handedly, as a given. There aren't many plays written about football, but Bolinger and Schalter's work has a raw potential--probably more as a movie than a play.

At 6472 Santa Monica Blvd., Fridays through Sundays, 7 p.m., through April 2. Tickets: $10. (213) 466-1767.

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