Play Reading SIG
Do you love reading plays? Our SIG gives participants a chance to read aloud and analyze scenes and characters from prize-winning plays.
We meet once or twice per month for two hours, usually on a Friday afternoon, so as not to conflict with other OLLI courses. During the year we are open to suggestions as to which plays to read, while in the summer, when hopefully theatres will resume performances, we choose plays that we can both read and view.
We encourage our members to prepare and lead discussions on plays that interest them. Thriving on group participation, we allow two sessions to cover each one. Particular editions are selected that can be ordered online or from the Lenox Bookstore.
In the past our meetings have been in person but this year our group has been very successful on Zoom. We hope to see you there!
Schedule of Forthcoming Play Reading Events
Our upcoming meetings are:
Friday, May 21 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Sophie Treadwell's Machinal (2nd half) facilitated by Karel Fisher
Friday, June 4 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) David Mamet's Oleanna (1st half) facilitated by Peter Podol
Friday, June 18 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Oleanna (2nd half) facilitated by Peter Podol
Friday, July 9 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Eleanor Burgess' The Niceties (1st half) facilitated by Julie Koppenheffer
Friday, July 30 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) The Niceties (2nd half) facilitated by Julie Koppenheffer
Friday, Aug. 13 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Yasmina Reza's Art (1st half) facilitated by Mara Winn
Friday, Aug. 27 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Art (2nd half) facilitated by Mara Winn
Peter Podol has found a very good website with commentary and film clips of the 2014 Broadway production of Machinal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkmfZ1WcXgY (Katrin Redfern - StageWorks Episode 5: A Review of Machinal)
The editions of the plays we will be using are as follows:
Machinal published jointly by the Royal National Theatre, London and Nick Hern Books Ltd., London, 1963. (cover: black and white photograph of Fiona Shaw from the Royal National Theatre production, 1963) Available at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA as well as online booksellers.
Oleanna published by Vintage Books, New York, 1993. (cover: title highlighted in yellow, photograph of young woman in foreground, man on a telephone in the background) Available at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA as well as online booksellers (Amazon also has a number of used copies from $1.00 up; new $14.95)
The Niceties Oberon Modern Plays (cover: color photograph of a young African American woman and an older white woman wearing eyeglasses, both have their elbows resting on stacks of books) Available from online booksellers ($14.95 new at Amazon; also used copies from $10+, but make sure you get the Oberon Modern Plays edition)
Art (acting edition) published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. and available from them for $10.00 by ordering through dramatists.com; also available at Amazon.com for $10 new and from $1.99 used, but make sure to get the Dramatist Play Service acting edition (yellow cover).
The next play we are reading is Oleanna by David Mamet. Peter Podol will be leading us in reading and discussing that play on Friday, June 4. Peter Sohn has forwarded a link to an interview with Mamet concerning the play (see below).
Here is a link to the Roundabout Theater’s trailer for their 2014 production of Machinal. Thanks to Peter Sohn for providing this. There are interviews with the director and cast and they offer a different “take” on the play.
If the video doesn’t start when you click on the link, try pasting the link into your browser and pressing Enter.
Thanks also to Karel Fisher who expertly guided the group through a complex play.
We are in the process of getting theatre parties set up with Shakespeare & Company to see Yasmina Reza's Art (Wednesday, Aug. 18 @ 2:00 pm and Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs (Oct. 13 @ 7:30 pm). Details on discount tickets to follow.
Also, Arline Breskin's OLLI theatre outing to see Chester Theatre's The Niceties at Hancock Shaker Village under the tent (which includes lunch at HSV) will be July 14. OLLI will be sending out special information on how to register for this event.