Extra Innings, a new semi-autobiographical film of hope and despair by Albert Dabah, will be screened by Saratoga Jewish Community Arts on October 27 at Skidmore College. It is jointly co-sponsored by Temple Sinai and Skidmore Office for Jewish Student Life, and is made possible through a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York and the Golub Corporation.
The topics are baseball, family, religion, and most importantly for us, mental health. It is the story of a wholesome and devout Syrian Jewish family steeped in old world traditions living in a Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1960s and the tragedy that befalls them. It tells of an overbearing father (Eli), an absent-minded mother (Esther), both of whom stress religion and tradition to their four children who don’t carry the cultural encumbrance of their immigrant parents. The children, who reflect some of the parents’ fractured disappointments, include twelve-year-old David, who is obsessed with playing baseball; Rita, a scholarly younger sister; Vivian, a free-spirited older sister; and Morris, a troubled and emotionally withdrawn older brother.
When tragedy strikes, David’s only escape is on the baseball field. It opens a world outside his Syrian community and his religion. When David’s family will not or cannot support him, others come in their stead, and this offers a reprieve from the drama of home life. David’s parental pressure to grow up, leave a child’s game of baseball behind on top of the forced rigidity of cultural expectations is a weight throughout the film” says Phyllis Wang, Coordinator of the Community Arts series.
Five years later, still rebelling against family and community rules and disapproval, David is in California, playing baseball, living with his sister, and with his love, Natalie, an Italian girl from Brooklyn. Still unable to escape the painful experiences of younger years, grief follows him. Can he turn away and can he escape his guilt?
Extra Innings is about more than baseball. It’s a film focused on bringing a message of hope to those affected by mental illness. Part of Dabah’s goal is to bring awareness to the topic, share information, aid in suicide prevention, and foster a conversation about reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. The film will be followed by a panel discussion that will include a health professional, a psychologist, and an educator. Dessert reception is included. The showing is on Sunday, October 27, at 7pm, at Emerson Auditorium in Palamountain Hall at Skidmore College. $5.00 donation is requested. For information, call 518-584-8730, option 2