Actors can make you cry, laugh, or feel. But their talents have limits, and judging from the action at Second Stage Theatre's 23rd Annual All-Star Bowling Classic at Manhattan’s Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge last night, one of those limits is bowling. "I am beyond bad. I have no form. I have no skills. I’m using a different ball each time," said Chloë Sevigny, who claimed she would really clean up at the fund-raiser if it were either softball (she was a shortstop in high school) or the card game Apples to Apples, of which she is an expert player. Ari Graynor, whose score crawled in the 60s, described herself as "Horrendous with a capital H," but said she made up for her lack of athletic skills by using her schmoozing abilities with her teammates from the finance world (each actor was the captain of a team sponsored by big-buck companies like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone). "I've been drinking Dewar's on the rocks with my new friends in finance, and I've already found out all the gossip about their inter-office romances." When not reviewing his Mad Men co-stars' beards, John Slattery actually bowled a couple of strikes, though, he, too, claimed other skills. "I'm a really good dishwasher loader. I could do that competitively."
Ericka Christensen, meanwhile, was trying to sabotage her neighboring team, captained by Bobby Cannavale. "I’ve been pulling out my one kamikaze move,” she explained, “which is you sabotage whoever’s next to you by waiting until they’re bowling, and then you bowl in synchronization. They get so freaked out by it that they bowl terribly. Of course, you bowl terribly, too, because you’re paying attention to them." Tony Shalhoub, who claimed his high score of 108 was due to "concentrating on the wine," had a theory about all the bad bowling. "I'm the best," he said, "but in general actors tend to be too self-involved to be good bowlers. My theory of bowling is that the ball wants to knock the pins down, so the idea is to stay out of the way of the ball. The ball knows what to do. Actors tend to want to make it about them. They’ve got to take themselves out of the equation, and it’s very hard for an actor to do. It’s an inner game. Be the ball."
Indeed, Shalhoub ended up taking home a trophy for willing his team into third place. (Well, actually, pretty much everyone took home a trophy.) Christensen won "Best Coach," even though she didn't know how to bowl well enough to coach. Bobby Cannavale won "Most Spirited," which was announced just as he'd put on his coat and was leaving the room for a smoke. Slattery came home with "Most Stylish Male Bowler," which, he said, must have been "because I looked better bowling in this turd-colored shirt than everyone else." And Sevigny walked away with a prize for "Most Stylish Female Bowler." Proving Shalhoub's earlier theory on actors, she hoisted her trophy and said, "That was not unexpected. This was not a surprise."