Nonetheless, hoops and theatre are set to collide via the world premiere production of Meg Miroshnik’s “The Tall Girls,” running at the Alliance Friday through March 30.
“I was really excited about the idea of trying to take what’s exciting about watching a basketball game and putting it on stage,” said Miroshnik.
An intriguing blend of the unpredictable with scripted fare, “Tall Girls” is set in the Depression-era Midwest. It centers on a prep girls’ basketball team, whose success may be the only way to a better life for its players.
The play is billed as a mixture of elements of live basketball playing — the makes and misses are all improvised — with a coming-of-age story.
“It’s both a period piece and really contemporary in talking about the game for girls and women and the social mobility that sports can [engender] … taking you from the bottom to the top,” said Miroshnik. “I hope [audiences] will find it fun and hopeful.”
A dynamic group of thespian recruits makes up the “Tall Girls” roster: Travis Smith takes on the role of the mysterious basketball coach Haunt Johnny. The girls’ basketball team is made up of Lauren Boyd as Inez, Veronika Duerr as Lurlene, Kally Duling as Almeda, Emily Kitchens as Jean and Hayley Platt as Puppy.
All involved are charged with executing the vision of Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, who is helming the project.
“(The Tall Girls) is a piece ostensibly about sports that is really about identity and hope — how we craft the former in pursuit of the latter,” said Booth. “This is a play about a community of women striving both toward an individual sense of self and a collaborative goal.
“Here is a ballgame.”
The production marks the conclusion of the 10th anniversary season of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting competition. Miroshnik walked away with the 2012 honors for her play, “The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls.”
The scribe wrote her latest stageplay in 2011. A painstaking editorial and creative metamorphosis ultimately yielded the play.
Miroshnik described the underlying premise of the narrative as trying to figure out how basketball — so popular since its invention — could have disappeared from high schools for one gender for more than a generation.
“We’re talking way before [the advent of] Title IX,” she said. “These characters are trying to prevent the inevitable — the disappearance of the sport for girls.”
The 5-foot, 6-inch playwright’s own basketball career peaked at the junior varsity level in her native Minneapolis.
“Actually, my basketball coach sat me down and observed that theatre was going really well for me at the time and maybe I should concentrate on that,” said Miroshnik. “This [play] is a great way to vicariously explore that other dream.”
IF YOU GO:
o What: "The Tall Girls"
o Where: The Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St.
o When: Friday through March 30
o Tickets: Start at $33
o Information: (404) 733-5000 or www.alliancetheatre.org/thetallgirlsHere it is: