The value of staged readings vs static readings

DSCN1694Last night we opened the Left Out Festival with a staged reading of Michelle Ramoni’s play “No River Between Us”. The play was beautifully written, directed and cast (I get to play the plum role of Bonnie, too. Lucky me)

This morning I get this email from Michelle, “I also want to say that there was a moment when you said to Steve, ‘Oh, Steve, it’s never easy with you, is it?’…S— said that really touched him deeply…it was a beautiful moment. Your work was stunning last night, thank you:)”

And the fact is that we were ALL stunning, and the audience loved it, and the play truly shone – we could see how it works, the values were all clearly apparent.

I love doing this kind of work – staged readings, with book in hand, and bodies moving on the stage, action, interaction and reaction. This kind of work is audience-worthy, and our audience stayed and stayed for the post-show reception – and engaged in conversation about the acting, the writing, the concept, the execution.

This is so superior, in my thinking, to a static reading with actors in chairs or at music stands, followed by an obligatory talk-back, with everyone and their dog opining about this and that. Blech.

Better to have the big human energy filling up the words, and filling up our hearts, like last night’s staged reading. Better to give the actors a chance to truly embody the words, rather than just speak them.

These events like last night’s staged reading are the kind of things I live for, and work for, and that float me up. Check out Michelle’s face in the picture (the redhead). Doesn’t she look fulfilled?

For all of you playwrights out there in the world, laboring alone, I urge you to find a way to stage a reading of your play. Let it live. It’s so rewarding.


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