GENEVA — About a year ago, the Geneva Theatre Guild had a difficult choice to make: Cancel the popular Playwrights Playreadings series after 21 seasons or try something new and different by moving to the virtual world.
With that, Zoom readings were born.
Auditions had to be reimagined, with prospective actors Zoom-ing in virtually, reading snippets of two or three plays with other actors in their own little boxes, with directors watching unseen, though not unheard. After the plays were cast, introductions to fellow cast members, rehearsals, and performances were all accomplished with each director and actor in their own homes. It was a steep learning curve for many involved, but somehow it worked.
Rather than being limited to just three nights of performing a handful of plays with 20 or so local performers, the 2020 online format allowed for more than 70 aspiring readers to vie for parts in 19 plays.
Playreadings will continue this year with over 50 actors from around the country assigned roles in 14 plays. Watch from the comfort of your own home, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday from April 22 to May 27.
In addition, “It’s Your Mother” by Patricia Durante and Betsy Tuxill will be presented serially, one segment per week; it will be the last performance each Thursday. While you might not lose the story line, if you don’t see each week’s segment you may miss a vital ingredient in “Mother’s” special soup. Part of the recipe will be revealed each week in a special call at the end of that segment.
At 7:30 p.m. today, the 12 Playwrights Playreadings directors — Sean Britton-Milligan, Steve Duprey, Roger Gans, Nicholas Goodman, Shana Gordon, Emmerich Hauf, Jenna Konyak, Steve Mitchell, Alexa Powell, Gabriella Rosa, Loren Schmidtgall and Eleanor Stearns — will be online to tell you more about the plays each will be directing live online over the next month and a half. There will be no charge for any of the performances, but donations are always welcome.
The Playreadings include:
“Love in the Time of Bubbles,” by Cary Gitter.
“Virtual Happy Hour,” by Richard Castle.
“History Lesson,” by Frankie Little Hardin.
“153,” by Steven G. Martin.
“Annexing The Palisades,” by Alex Goldberg.
“Hal and His Atomic Ray Gun,” by Straton Rushing.
“The Fledglin,” by Brigid Amos.
“Truth Be Told,” by Pamela Morgan.
“Tax Day,” by Hilary Bluestein-Lyons.
“G’Oy Vey! A Zoom Play,” by David Lipschutz.
“A Snowballs Chance,” by Jeff Dunne.
“Thank Emily,” by Richard Manley.
“442 Pine,”by Connor Hibbard.