The 20th Quarter-Annual Horse Contest is a comedy about two thirty-something men (Jim Lucas and Ron Treland) in the 80's who come together periodically to deepen their long-term friendship through the playing of a basketball game called HORSE. They have developed their own peculiar way of playing the game, where the object of the game is superseded by the creativity of their playing styles and shot selections. It is more of a creative ritual than a competitive game. The game is continuously interrupted (sometimes in real time, mostly t) by Ron's parents, Jim and Ron's high school basketball coach, Jim's college basketball coach, and Jim and Ron's wives. The interruptions constitute the evolution of the relationships between Ron, his parents, and his wife, and between Jim, his old coaches and his wife. Ron is caught in his father's business and under the command of his father's crusty personality, whereas Jim is caught in his past high school glories and college failures. Jim's wife, Lynne, is relatively ecomically and emotionally stable, and this stability is both a source of strength and resentment for Jim, who is less stable in those areas. Ron's wife, Jeannette, is tired of the whole thing and wants Ron to deal with his blustery and obxious father and live his own life, but she is unwilling to separate from Ron as he works on his relationship with his father. Jim's high school coach serves as Jim's much valued connection to his glory days in high school and Jim's college coach serves as his hurtful reminder of his failure to sustain a college basketball career. All of these characters impinge upon the personal development of Jim and Ron in both positive and negative ways. Jim and Ron are fearful of doing what they really want to do in life. The basketball game, played out in its own peculiar way, serves t only as means of deepening the friendship between the two men but as a forum for their emotional growth and development. The 20th Quarter-Annual Horse Contest is a fast-moving, scene-shifting, dialogue-overlapping story of how two young men come to terms with their past connections to glory in sport and their current relationships with their wives and family. Though this play transcends realism through its shifting, integrated scenes, it 'plays' realistically. Shifts in time and place are integrated into a whole that 'seems' quite natural.
G. Michael Blahnik is author of two novels, ten plays, four original works in Philosophy that seek to integrate mind and body, and one original work in Psychology that challenges the assumptions underlying current theory and practice in psychotherapy.