April 7, 2014 The Maharini’s Last Game, Act I of a new full-length play, gets its first reading at the Greenway Court Theatre. The play is being developed within the Playwrights-Directors Unit of the Actors Studio West. Two rehearsals prior to the reading. The reading is only open to Studio members.
Director: John Lacey | LinkedIn
The Maharini: Ellen Gerstein
Lester: Erik Passoja
Sasha: Andrea Nelson
Celeste: Eileen Grubba
Mr. Snively: Craig Braun
Duke: Shelly Desai
I’m happy to announce that PRNYC has advanced as a semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, this August, in Connecticut. Finalists, to be announced in April, get to spent five weeks in residence at the O’Neill, culminating in staged readings. 1,200 scripts were considered this year; app. 20% advance to the semi-finals. I’m grateful to the directors and actors in the Playwrights/Directors Unit of the Actors Studio in L.A. who participated in the reading of Act I of PRNYC in December, 2012, and Act II October, 2013. Also, my compadres at H-B Studio in New York, and Freehold in Seattle who slogged through many versions of ths play, and Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend, Wa., where it was produced as a One Act.
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Infiltration. There is a process of infiltration that occurs with me now, in which a character from another play or sketch infiltrates another play, and it makes sense. Abe and Val are having an anniversary dinner at the Temple of Meat and Becca, a character from The Contractors infiltrates the lives of Abe and Val. Suddenly, Val is going from Brooklyn to Wallace, Idaho and Abe has choked to death in his fantasy climax of booze, sex, and meat. Could the catalyst for a full-length play actually be Val having the audacity to order salmon at Peter Luger’s. In The Caregivers the infiltration is the dead upon the living and burden of the dead upon the living, and the living dead really, winter in the Pacific Northwest, can you tell the difference? It is dark, it is cold, it is wet, all the time, even if it isn’t. The great outdoors closes in and fatalism takes over. Becoming porous, absorbing the rain. Victorian must. The ferry docking and unloading. The sea gulls that seem like they’re out of a Alfred Hitchcock movie. There is terror in beauty and I can’t figure out if this is a horror story or a love story … what if the fog eliminates the boundaries between sanity and madness, life and death and Eugene O’Neill was right all along. Dear Actor: https://medium.com/thoughts-on-creativity/97ab2cdb72c6
Pulali, 9/8/2013: A staged reading is a dramatic presentation of a work in progress. It’s ‘staged’ because it’s rehearsed, it’s not a cold reading. It’s dramatic because the actors make choices about the characters they portray and they are invested in the work, they are not ‘readers.’ A staged reading can be as compelling as a produced play. Stripped of scenery or artifice or lighting, or anything that stands between the actors and the playwright, the reading relies on words and acting, nothing else. The third element necessary to produce drama – the audience – is what a reading is about. You never know what you have until the audience reacts. The PRO of a reading: it’s usually free, with contributions going to actors, an opportunity to experience raw, dramatic work. The CON of a reading: The work can need a lot of work. Which was the case, in my mind, of my last reading of this play at the Odd Duck in Seattle last October, 2012. I came out of that reading realizing that a full length play is not a One Act with 40 minutes tacked on and there are no easy ways out of dramatic situations that have high stakes. Since then I’ve experimented with perhaps half a dozen endings, created and killed scenes, created and killed characters, and took the characters I have, I hope, to further extremes. I discovered a lot more to explore in this play and in these characters. And there is probably still more. The cast met in May for a read through. The play has changed significantly since then. Next rehearsal Tuesday. The actors have no idea what they’re walking in to. I’m flattered and frightened that they would do this.