New reading series at Plays & Players

The cast: Ed Miller, Colleen Corcoran, Steven Wright, Gerre Garrett, Mark Knight, and Bill McKinlay on stage directions and general gesticulating.

The cast: Ed Miller, Colleen Corcoran, Steven Wright, Gerre Garrett, Mark Knight, and Bill McKinlay on stage directions and general gesticulating.

The title pretty much says it all.  Bill McKinlay has started a new reading series that steals its tone from the old, Tuesday-night reading series that the Brick Playhouse used to do, and I was honored to be the inaugural playwright.

Last Tuesday, five talented actors convened upon the top floor of the Plays & Players Theatre to read a comedy that I churned out a few years ago called Pillowfights on Zeppelins.  Believe it or not, it’s a Christmas story, in which a bunch of archeologists uncover a site in Greenland that was the inspiration for the Santa Claus legend.  Yes, aforementioned pillowfights on an aforementioned zeppelin ensue.  Also, velociraptors.

I pretty much said everything I had to say about the Tuesday night readings in my post about the Brick, but let me add this: it was nice to have a pressure-less reading.  Professionally, yes, this was a notch or two above the salon readings in Sam’s living room, if for no other reason that all the readers were professional actors.  But there was no rehearsal, and there certainly weren’t any artistic directors in the audience, looking to fill a hole in their next season.  It was just a bunch of playwrights and theater-lovers who wanted to see something new and give their opinions.  It’s going to take a while for this to get traction, but I can see this becoming a regular event (forgive me, if I’m teetering on the verge of oxymoron).  It doesn’t have the stakes of PlayPenn or a reading at one of the bigger theaters, but it still has value for the writer, it presents actors an opportunity to play, and artists of all stripes have a chance to mingle and catch up.

Bill plans to do this on the third Tuesday of every month.  The next reading is scheduled for November 17 and will feature a new play by Quinn Eli.  Anyone interested in plugging into the Philadelphia playwriting scene should make the effort to get there.  Also, Bill is going to stuff eight ping-pong balls into his mouth.  Oh, yeah…and there’s a bar next door.

Reading series groupies: Colleen Corcoran, Bill McKinlay, Alex Dremann, Nicholas Wardigo, Gerre Garrett, and B.J. Burton.

Reading series groupies: Colleen Corcoran, Bill McKinlay, Alex Dremann, Nicholas Wardigo, Gerre Garrett, and B.J. Burton.

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