Teamwork rises in show about baseball

By Jennifer Eisenbart


For Burlington High School’s one-act play, it was only appropriate that teamwork played a part in qualifying for state at Waukesha Catholic Memorial Saturday

Presenting “The Baseball Show” by Cynthia Mercati – a show that talks not only about the joy of America’s pastime but the importance of every individual and the stories those individuals bring to the game – BHS took an all-inclusive approach to this year’s show with a 45-person company.

“We know that we’re going to lose all those seniors, and we need to give those other kids a chance to get their foot in the door,” said director Carrie Fidler, who has 13 seniors this year.

And that cast and crew overcame an hour delay Saturday to earn a spot at the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association State Theatre Festival the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18.

Burlington was coming off a year in which it did not qualify for the first time in 13 years, and the failure to qualify last fall had stuck with those involved.

The 2017 show balanced the competitiveness of the game of baseball with the nostalgia of ties individuals bring to the game. It also had plenty of humor that drew large laughs from the crowd, including senior Andrew Kawalec’s performance as a 10-gallon-hat cowboy mascot and a group of three “old ladies” who heckle not only on the opposition but each other.

Kawalec, who has been involved in theater since he was in kindergarten, said the show was a chance to have fun on stage.

“You can take any bad day and make it the best day ever,” he said about theater.

Fidler was proud of how the day came together for the group. The delay was caused by Waukesha West’s trailer that carried its set breaking down, and Burlington also had some worries with its set trailer. Parents ended up taking the set home in various personal vehicles.

That was a portion of the teamwork, as was the fact that Fidler had the largest cast and crew at the sectionals.

But perhaps the biggest impact was by three people who weren’t there Saturday. Paying tribute to three teenagers killed in May in a car crash, the names of the three – Jason Davis, Landen Brown and Hunter Morby – were listed as “retired” as part of the set. The numbers with each name indicate their graduation years.

“Always with us when we take the field,” Fidler said.

It was a strong overall day for Southern Lakes Conference schools at Saturday’s sectional, with not only Burlington, but Waterford and Lake Geneva Badger qualifying as well. Of the 11 schools that performed Saturday, all but two made the cut for state – including Waukesha West, which caused the afternoon’s delay.

Fidler said the group got a great deal of feedback from the judges. Having already capitalized on the two weeks between districts and sectionals, Fidler is expecting to be ready to capitalize on the state opportunity. This year’s event will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“We have some very precise cleaning to do. We changed our transitions between district and state, and the kids got more and more efficient on them every time…to the point where they were much faster Saturday than even the day before,” Fidler said. “We also can play with a few moments in the show, making them even more resonant.”