Value Over Replacement
by Ruben Grijalva
directed by Jim Kleinmann
Originally produced at PlayGround, San Francisco, CA
June 13-July 10, 2016
About the Premiere Production:
(Photo: mellopix.com. Pictured: Melissa Ortiz, Alex Shafer, and Jomar Tagatac.)
Synopsis: At five-foot-seven, one-hundred-sixty pounds, light-hitting shortstop turned drive-time sports radio host, Edward “Chip” Fuller is hardly the poster-boy for baseball’s steroid era. But when he learns his name will appear on a list of players linked to performance enhancing drugs, Chip is forced to explain his choice to colleagues, his listeners, and his family. In doing so, he must choose between a bland public apology and a much more difficult confession: that if he had it to do over again, he wouldn't change a thing.
Artistic Statement: Value Over Replacement tells a quintessentially American story of the pursuit of excellence and the high cost that pursuit often brings. The American Theatre has a long love-affair with plays about America’s favorite pastime but this play and its approach to the challenging issues around PED use by professional athletes is novel and sure to have audiences deeply engaged albeit divided over the “right” choice. Value Over Replacement centers around one former major-league player turned sports-talk-show-host who is about to be outed in a report on performance-enhancing drug (PED) users. The playwright explores America’s favorite pastime - baseball - and the impact of PED scandals on the players, families, fans, and the industries that make their money off the sport. Ruben grew up watching Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco dominate the late 1980s at the Oakland Coliseum and then spent his early twenties watching Barry Bonds fill McCovey Cove with record home run balls. As it became clear those players were “doping," he went through the same periods of denial and disillusionment as other fans, until he considered this troubling question: if put in the same position, would he do steroids too? This question led to many others such as: what is fairness, and where do skills end and the drugs begin? With these questions in mind and channeling his ten-year-old self, Ruben wrote Value Over Replacement, hoping that we might feel, for a moment, the real weight of this choice between integrity and fulfillment.
Grant Statement: An Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for Value Over Replacement and the added week of rehearsal it provided ensured a significantly stronger premiere production and increases the likelihood that this play will receive additional productions in the coming year.
Cast: Martha Brigham, Christian Haines, Melissa Ortiz, Stephanie Prentice, Alex Shafer, and Jomar Tagatac.
Set Designer: Jim Kleinmann
Lighting Designer: Kate Boyd
Costumer Designer: Jocelyn Leiser Herndon
Sound Designer: Josh Senick
Production Manage: Marcus Marotto
Stage Manager: Gary P. Quinn
Casting Consultant: Annie Stuart
Properties Artisan: Ting Na Wang
• "Value Over Replacement hits a three bagger at the Thick House," for all Event, June 17, 2016
• "Review: 'Value Over Replacement' by Ruben Grijalva at Playgrounds Festival of New Works (***)," Theatre Storm, June 19, 2016
Additional Funders Supporting Value Over Replacement: Dramatists Guild Fund, Fleishhacker Foundation, Grants for the Arts/SF Hotel Tax Fund, Lenore & Howard Klein Foundation, Bernard Osher Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Wells Fargo.