The Hesitation Pitch by David Belke
August 12 – 21 at The Kunitz Shoes Stage at Holy Trinity Anglican Church
An interview with David Belke.
Describe your show in five words.
Pitching prairie girl finds hope.
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
Ellen Murdoch is a young woman growing up in 1930’s Alberta. Usually a cheerful and optimistic young woman, she is graduated High School with the realization that all her dreams and plans are now out of reach due to the Depression. The only place she finds a shred of hope is on the pitcher’s mound, but even thin ray of optimism seems doomed to failure in the championship game ahead. But suddenly a mysterious stranger who just might be the greatest pitcher the game has ever seen arrives in town and Ellen Murdoch finds that the specialness that she had been seeking might just be right around her.
The Hesitation Pitch is based on stories of your grandmother playing baseball during the Depression. What intrigued you about those stories?
The thought of a grandparent as a young person is fascinating enough to any kid, but the image of my happy and domestic grandma in a sporting competition was hard one to reconcile to my young brain. But whenever we had a family reunion, there she was pitching. It was a side of my familiar grandmother’s life that was unknown and exciting, one I would never actually visit. Except in my imagination.
The characters in The Hesitation Pitch are primarily based on your family members. What approach did you take to researching and/or creating these characters?
There was no research and no creation. I wrote these people as I knew them. The plot of the play is largely made up of characters based on my family. Hopefully I’ve managed to capture a little of the heart and spirit of these special people I knew and loved.
Your cast for The Hesitation Pitch primarily comes from the Victoria School of the Arts. Was this just the way the casting turned out, or does this production have a longer history with Victoria School?
I have a long history at Victoria School. I’ve been working as a supply teacher in the Edmonton Public School System for over twenty five years and I’ve been fortunate enough to be brought into Victoria School more often than any other school. I’ve taught classes there long enough that I’ve seen students I taught in Grade 1 graduate and move into their adult lives. With a play like The Hesitation Pitch which relies on a majority of young actors, I knew there was pool of talent I could dip into. I first recruited my director Derrique DeGagne (who teaches full time at Vic) and let her use her familiarity with the young actors at Victoria School lead the way. Five of the eight cast members are Victoria students or graduates, the director is a Victoria teacher and the costume designer is also a Victoria teacher. And it’s been a pleasure working with them all.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
The Hesitation Pitch is a full length comedy/drama that is very close to my heart. It features some extraordinary young performers in a story that is both fun and heartfelt.
The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.