Best Theater Road Show (2000)

The Gin Game

There's plenty of choice horseflesh in South Florida each winter, but the most appealing thoroughbreds to pass through the region were Julie Harris and Charles Durning. The two arrived as part of the National Actors Theatre's touring production of The Gin Game, directed by Charles Nelson Reilly. This sentimental piffle of a play by D.L. Coburn won the Pulitzer for drama in 1977, but it's the actors who have aged well. They portrayed Weller (Durning) and Fonsia (Harris), two geezers abandoned by their families and dumped into a second-rate nursing home. Blending their disparate acting styles into a kind of demonic waltz (imagine a brainy spider battling cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn), Harris and Durning turned all dramatic expectations on their heads. In their hands even a piece of dramatic dross can seem like gold.


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