So, last weekend, it was my turn to face the gauntlet. That’s me, standing next to salon-owner Sam Barrett, and when I say “salon,” I of course mean her living room, well-appointed with wine and vodka. I can’t explain that expression on her face, except perhaps to suggest that she suffers from a neurotic and justifiable fear of playwrights.
Also, “gauntlet” is a strong word, unless you’re picturing a big, furry mitt. Then, yes, it was like that. The Brick Playhouse was sometimes criticized for the straightforwardness of its critique session, but I’ve got my Bachelor’s in creative writing and professional writing, and I know what a rough critique looks like. On at least two occasions, in a college workshop setting, I saw an author being reduced to tears. That’s what we need more of; some good, old-fashioned Darwinian tactics to weed out weak writers.
Hey, look, a photo of actors:
Starting from the left, that’s Ellen, Tom, and Caitlin. Their drinks are, respectively, wine, bourbon, and wine. Ellen and Tom aren’t real actors, they just played actors for that night. Caitlin is, and she was surprisingly well cast. It’s a weird script called Circles Circles Circles Circles Circles, and she played a retired exotic dancer who is interviewing for a job with Tom’s character, who is a paraplegic designer who creates giant birthday cakes for dancers to jump out of. The job, incidentally, is for a “test pilot”…someone to test out his new cake designs before he tries to sell them to clients. I know, it’s a really threadbare plot. Hey look, a picture of more actors:
That’s Mark and Kit, who rounded out the cast. Mark is an actor whom you may have seen around Philly, most notably at Philadelphia Artists’ Collective. Kit isn’t an actor; he’s a research scientist. The cast is on his arm because he stuck it too far down the throat of an uncooperative anaconda. True story! Hey, look, another photo:
I’m including this one because it has playwright Alex Dremann in it, and he lends an aura of credibility to any outing he attends. You can tell it’s intermission, because there’s cake. Cake always means intermission. I don’t know what’s up with Caitlin, unless she just found out about the anaconda.
And, just for laughs, one more photo:
That’s Mark, Rick, Ellen, and Sam. I think this was after the reading, when we were about to call it a night. Aurora was around there, too, as well as Kit’s wife, Chris, but they were photo-shy for some reason.
I won’t go into detail about what’s cool about living room readings since I covered that pretty thoroughly a couple of posts ago. Suffice to say, we all had a blast, I got plenty of cool feedback, and it was terrific hearing the play read out loud for the first time. Thanks to Sam, the readers, and what few audience members weren’t roped into reading stage directions.