“The Last Match” Serves Up An Epic Showdown of Two Tennis Titans

You’re at the edge of your seat immersed in an intense play set under the bright lights of the US Open semifinals. Visibly missing are tennis balls and a net. At center stage are two tennis titans competing to be the number one tennis player in the world.

The Last Match pits 30-something year old rising Russian star Sergei Sergeyev (played by * Michael Perrie, Jr.) against American great Tim Porter (played by Tom Patterson) in a showdown of human rivalry where both men discuss significant, intimate moments in their lives both on and off the court. The dialogue of the duo whizzes at warp speed, alternating between priceless humor and thought-provocative self-reflection, the play gives glimpses into the minds of the players as they openly discuss the sacrifices each made to be a tennis success, and the legacy they might leave behind of those same sacrifices.

Enhancing this gripping performance are personal interactions each player has with their wives and the gut-wrenching pain felt during traumatic moments in their lives, including American tennis star Tim Porter’s loss of three children (one, a stillborn) and Russian emerging star Sergei Sergeyev struggling to come to terms with the tragic car crash that took the lives of his parents who were enroute to watch him play his first match at the age of 15. Actors Anique Clements and Lucy Lavely play the wives, and their performances blend well into the overall enjoyment of the play, especially as strong-willed women who profoundly and  positively affect their husbands in their private lives.  For me, Lucy Lavely was one of the uplifting highlights of this play, with her no-nonsense, loud, strong Russian accent, self-confidence (or as it plays out….lack of self-confidence), and deep devotion to her husband, Sergei.

Both men have given it all to reach the top of  their game. But where do you go from here? That’s the gut-wrenching question each men are struggling with, and the real heart of Anna Ziegler’s new play that highlights the intense world of professional competitive sports and to what lengths athletes will go in order to feel powerful, important, and maintain their youth.

The regional premiere of The Last Match began February 22. Tickets can be purchased here.

Single tickets start at $18. Call 941-366-9000 or visit www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org. The Last Match is playing at Florida Studio Theatre’s Bowne’s Lab, (accessible by going to Hegner Theatre Wing located at 1265 1st Street Sarasota, FL 34236. Sarasota. * Note: If you were lucky enough to see Florida Studio Theatre’s hit show, Buddy: The Buddy Holly story, Michael Perrie, Jr. played the lead.

Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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