Monday, May 27, 2024

Toni Stone, Mother Play, Uncle Vanya: Deserting the Audience

Stanley Andrew Jackson and Jennifer Mogbock in Toni Stone. (Photo: T. Charles Erickson)

The titular protagonist of Toni Stone, currently playing in the Huntington Theatre’s revered space in Boston’s Back Bay, is the first woman who played baseball regularly in a professional league. She played for three Negro leagues in the forties and fifties, culminating in a season with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, where she replaced Hank Aaron, who had been picked up by the Milkwaukee Braves. It’s an appealing story for the stage and especially for contemporary audiences. But the playwright, Lydia R. Diamond, hasn’t worked out how to dramatize it.