The Playwright’s Foundation opened their 32nd annual season this weekend with the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2009. Comprised of five new full-length plays and two one-acts from playwrights around the country, the stories range from a retelling of the Oresteia to the repercussions of Shakespeare’s black characters going on strike.
The festival features “two public staged readings of each play, with a week for rehearsal and rewriting in between the readings.” Play readings are a unique event in that they are not fully produced (there are no sets, costumes and minimal lights and sound), but the Playwright’s Foundation has found a way to make these staged readings come alive by finding some of the best actors in the Bay Area as well as some exciting new plays. It’s also an opportunity for the audience to play a critical role in working with the writer to focus on what portions of their play has the most impact.
There is an excitement that can only be felt when you witness a great idea being forged in the crucible of live theatre. This is where it all begins; the plays are raw, wonderfully acted, and will someday come back as produced works of art that you’ll be paying $60 a ticket to see!
(Full disclosure: I am the production manager for the Playwright’s Foundation.)