The Reading Series
Actors and words – intimate and immediate. In our Reading Series, our brilliant Ensemble members take you back to the basics, allowing your imagination to soar as they speak.
Over the last five years we have presented readings of celebrated contemporary plays as part of our exploration of “Contemporary Shavians” – writers who have taken up Shaw’s mantle to provoke and challenge with wit and humanity. The choice of plays is hugely varied in form and content and some have raised cheers while others caused tears, but take note that at least four of them have ended up as full productions in later seasons.
This year we will present three plays that have made their names internationally – see if you can spot one that might become a Shaw Festival show!
Studio Theatre – 11am – $20
The Accrington Pals
by Peter Whelan I July 20
When all-volunteer armies formed in the UK following the outbreak of the First World War, small-town Accrington raised its own battalion, called the Accrington Pals. The play looks at the women left behind when 700 of their town’s men went into battle. Most band together, except May, a tough market-stall owner who cannot express her love for Tom, an idealistic artist who enlists. The Guardian’s Michael Billington called it “one of the best plays ever about the First World War.”
by Ayad Akhtar I August 31
Amir Kapoor is a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who doesn’t mind if people assume he’s Indian. But when a local imam is arrested, Amir reluctantly becomes involved. When this is reported in the New York Times, Amir must face up to the heritage he has denied to both his employers and his friends, and at a friendly dinner party, an innocent conversation comes to a shocking conclusion. Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
by Christopher Durang I October 5
Vanya and Sonia have lived their entire lives in their family’s farmhouse, staying home to take care of their ailing parents. When their movie star sister Masha suddenly arrives with her boy toy Spike and an invitation to a costume party featuring Masha as Snow White and everyone else as a dwarf, old resentments emerge. Playwright Durang takes characters and themes from Chekhov, pours them into a blender and mixes them up in this hilarious and touching play. Winner of the 2013 Tony for Best Play.