Notes From Justine:
All About Readings….but not really.
Just a Reading/Submerged
Last week was such a fun week at super-busy Looking Glass Theatre. We just closed the beautifully theatrical and much adored (by audiences small and large) Three By the Sea. Read audience quotes and view photos here; http://lookingglasstheatrenyc.com/ThreeBytheSea.html
On Thursday (4/7/11) I got my first peek into rehearsals of Just a Reading (Written by Ryan Glass, Directed by Chanda Calentine).
We theatre people love a good play-within -a -play and this is quite a special one. It’s a full production masquerading as “just a reading.” A handful of actors (played by the very talented ensemble of Jenn Boehm, Michael Sean Cirelli, Brandon Ferraro, Cas Marino, Alexandra Mingione and Stephen Reich) casually enter the theatre, greeting each other, adjusting the folding chairs and picking up their scripts. We are introduced to the players and then hear the beginning of a witty little play about a new hit band about to embark on their first tour. So far this could indeed be a simple reading but some weird behavior begins to interrupt the action of the “play.” Actors break character and the playwright isn’t willing to discuss any of the problems that begin to arise. What’s happening becomes clear to us, the audience. This play is about these actors’ real lives and it’s freaking them out. As you can probably tell from the photo, at some point things go terribly wrong…. But Alan the playwright (now a big shot in Hollywood) has some clout (and manic energy) on his side and is going to see this through to the bitter (or will it be sweet?) end! I can’t wait to see how the play continues to evolve at rehearsal this week!
Friday night pre-show I attended a mysterious and exciting meeting with two Looking Glass artists Jacqueline Honeybourne and Mark Gordon. Have I piqued your interest? Good. There’s an unusual project on the horizon here, more on that in the future. Then I attended the first incarnation of a new play reading series. The brainchild of Producer/Director Aliza Shane, the concept is to solicit new short (10-15 minute) work from our artists based on the set of each mainstage production. This evening was based on the watery world of Three By the Sea so our theme was water and our title was Submerged. Billed as “5 shorts for $5 bucks” there isn’t a better deal in town! Also billed as “Staged Readings”, these five plays were almost mini productions. Most actors were off book and fully blocked. Scripts were in hand and referred to however which served as a good reminder that this was indeed work in progress. The evening went off without a hitch and was truly a blast. Actors, playwrights and directors all seemed charged up about the work and the new series. It was so exciting to see artists involved from our past, some who haven’t been with us for years. Just a couple of the shows represented were Adventures of the Puppet Princess (’08), Anna's Perfect Party & The Amazing Magician's Marvelous Mistake (’09), Ask Someone Else, God (’09), Are You There, Zeus? It's Me, Electra (’09), and many many more! I now find myself wondering what the theme might be for Just a Reading’s set? After all, it is basically an empty, stripped theatre.
Our very own bare black box.
The creative possibilities, as always with a blank page, are truly endless.
Founding Artistic Director