Theater For The Future

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The Designed Reading

May 04, 2008 By: Nick Keenan Category: Teachable Moments, Tools

I’m digging the concept of the designed reading right now. Just ran one, and New Leaf and Side Project both have something along those lines in the works. It’s like not baking the whole cake, but instead taking the batter you have and making cute little cupcakes with just a dollop of frosting. And they fly off the shelves.

There’s something about that forcibly abbreviated process of rehearsing and doing a quick and dirty design for a one-off reading that creates the right kind of energy. Design choices get spare, slim. Performers and Designers both improvise in the moment, and the audience can sense that palpable uncertainty… and they rally behind any brazen fearlessness that the performers adopt to get through that uncertainty.

They make a great low-cost fundraiser, and they make a good atmosphere for an appreciative audience – the party or cabaret atmosphere can be molded into some pretty entertaining formats that really make for a good time that perhaps means a little more.

I think the audience is willing to go a little further when they know it’s a crazy one-time only event – like a reading of experimental material with just a bit of design to give the piece some weight, or a 24 hour play festival. That willingness opens them up when they’d normally close down. Just check out these faces, standing and kneeling and curled up on the lobby floor:

Oh, and seriously: Thanks and thanks (and thanks). I am freaking humbled by comments like these, when people are moved to speak up for me. I’m enough of a loudmouth as it is. It’s no secret among my friends that I was gunning for a “They Wuz Robbed” nod from TOC this year – as far as I’m concerned, if Grant Sabin won it, it’s the best award in town. It’s also incredibly exciting to me that Jess H., Jared M. and The Dining Room WERE recognized this year, and Steve P. is up for a Soundy Jeffy for Faster. These are people who I believe in, because I’ve seen what they can do with that support.

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1 Comments to “The Designed Reading”


  1. My pleasure :)

    1


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