The Friends of the Cranford Library sponsors The Theater Project’s new play reading series. My We Pray Together was the last play of the season, presented on May 16, 2015. Deb Maclean directed an all-star cast: Paul Mantell, Avery Hart, Dennis DaPrile, Joe Zedeny, Michael Aquino and Dania Ramos.
Theatre is a collaborative art form, and a public reading lets a playwright see how one director and cast will flesh out the characters who are to speak the words. This leads to corrections and new ideas. Will the next cast find the same interpretations? Of course not!
We rehearsed for a few hours beforehand. The show would be script-in-hand, but there were details about character focus and scene introductions to work out. To my delight, the actors were questioning plot and character points that I thought were straightforward. So much energy!
It’s the director’s job to wrangle all that into something coherent. For the playwright, it’s a little disconcerting to watch a director read your mind. Just as you’re about to hand her a note, presto, the adjustment is made. Do you have to be there at all? I wouldn’t miss it for anything!
Finally, the play was performed before an audience of thirty-some theatre enthusiasts. There were laughs, there were gasps. There were laughs where there should have been gasps. Then afterward, the questions. What was that? Why not this? What you liked. What you wanted to see more of. Strong adjectives are most helpful: Accurate. Wrenching. Authentic. Boring. Funny. Preachy.
If everyone is having fun, and everyone is tired at the end, that’s great! It’s like summer camp, with less dirt. To my fellow campers: THANK YOU!