Staged Play Reading Series

4 plays/4 nights

Martin Luther King Weekend 2019


Sierra Classic Theatre’s mission is to create an artistically adventurous environment that attracts and excites diverse members of the community by providing an expanded understanding of life through the art of quality theater. In order to facilitate this mission the company produces a number of plays per season. Before we choose our plays we have to discover the material so we began hosting informal play readings at various venues around town. Sometimes discover new plays we love and decide to mount them into full productions. Other times we love a play but decide a full production may not be feasible. Regardless, we have found reading plays aloud in a group setting to be exciting for both actors and the audience.

Unlike novels plays are meant to be spoken aloud. I remember taking a Shakespeare English class with the famous Shakespeare historian Marjorie Garber as an undergrad and our homework was to read the play aloud with our fellow students. Indeed the meaning was much clearer when forced say and hear the words aloud.

Due to time, budget, cast, and facility limitations we can only produce a certain number of plays in Mammoth per year but there is so much exciting material out there we want to share with you. So we decided to perform over Martin Luther King Weekend a series of staged readings of modern plays, written in the 21st Century. We will perform four plays over four nights. Many of the plays are award winners and each play has only two to three characters.

A few years ago Susan Dalian directed a staged reading of Gina Gionfriddo’s hilarious and heartwarming play, Rapture Blister Burn. The audience loved it and the actors were able to collaborate creatively without the time commitment of a full production. A staged reading is simply a form of theater without full sets or full costumes; where the actors read from scripts and may have minimal stage movement.

Why we chose plays with very small cast was put best by Charles Isherwood of the New York Times: “all that is required to create a potent dramatic event is two characters. Put a pair onstage, and you automatically have a relationship, and from the complicated ways in which two people relate to each other can grow myriad dramatic developments. The people up there will connect or they will conflict, and the result will be any of a number of compelling possibilities: betrayal, conciliation, destruction, erotic attraction.”

With great actors a staged reading can feel like the real thing but with an extra element of collaboration as the audience feels a part of the process instead of part of the finished product. This will be a donation only event. We hope you come and enjoy.