Young playwright Corin Wrigley is behind one of the most home-grown plays at this year’s Victoria Fringe Festival.
Wrigley, just 17 an already a Fringe veteran, is bringing the misunderstood story of baseball superstar Ty Cobb to life in Something Like a War, debuting Thursday (Aug. 22) at The Metro Studio Theatre at 9:45 p.m.
Wrigley is not alone in the 18-character play as his three brothers not only share a passion for baseball, but are all theatre nuts and are contributing to Something Like a War.
“We’ve travelled all over the United States and Canada seeing games in as many stadiums as we can,” Wrigley said. “One of these days, I’ll make it to see my team, which was Cobb’s team, the Detroit Tigers.”
Elder brothers Brian and John have staged their own Fringe productions and are both University of Victoria theatre grads. Brian is directing and acting in Something Like a War and John has assisted with script development and casting. Even the youngest brother, 12-year-old Julian, has a small part in the play.
How Wrigley came to become enamoured with Cobb’s story started with an assuming batting stance. Most batters in baseball hold the bat with their hands together, which is taught to youths.
Wrigley didn’t conform and was associating himself with Cobb at just six-years-old.
“My dad said that’s how Ty Cobb did it and I thought of myself as Cobb without knowing who he was.”
Wrigley continued to play baseball until 2012 and as he grew from a casual fan to a baseball nut it happened to correspond with the Tigers reaching the 2006 and 2012 World Series.
For a 17-year-old recreating a personality from 100 years ago (Cobb’s greatest fame was as a Tiger from 1905 to 1926), the research is impressive. Wrigley has read four biographies among the many videos and stories.
He also managed to secure a 30 minute interview with Cobb’s grandson Herschel Cobb, who shared a close relationship with his grandfather Ty until he died in 1961. Herschel was 17 then and is 70 now.
“It led to some changes in the play, particularly to the end of the play,” Wrigley said.
The phone call with Herschel came through Norm Coleman, a retired baseball photographer who is friends with Herschel and is bringing his one-man Ty Cobb show to John’s Place on Saturday at 8 p.m.
“When (Herschel) offered to talk to me himself, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I’d read his book about Ty but talking to him really helped me … I was getting a closer perspective than I ever could have hoped,” Wrigley said.
Wrigley, a homeschool grad, isn’t in a rush to enter UVic’s theatre program, though he just might end up there one day, if not another acting school.
In the meantime he’ll work on perfecting his Cobb character and, possibly turn the show into a two-act, two hour show, and also a one-man show, once the Fringe run is over.
This year Wrigley also acted in his brother Brian’s play The Disinhibition Effect and last year was in Keep it Simple Production’s Henry V.
Something Like a War plays at the Metro Studio Theatre, 1411 Quadra St., on the following dates: Thursday August 22, 9:45 pm; Saturday August 24, 1:00 pm; Tuesday August 27, 6:00 pm; Thursday August 29, 8:00 pm; Saturday August 31, 4:30 pm, and Sunday September 1, 8:45 pm. Tickets are $11, students $9.
For a full list of Fringe Festival shows, click here.