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.
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