A reading is a performance of a play that focuses on the words of the script and the interaction of the actors without sets, props and costumes. Readings are a way to present plays in front of live audiences without the expense of a fully staged production. While readings can be of new or existing works, Dreamcatcher chooses to read new plays only. Readings of new shows can help a show’s creative team see what works and what might need a rewrite. When a reading goes particularly well, Dreamcatcher will consider the play for a fully-staged production in an upcoming season.
Just like in a staged performance, Dreamcatcher company members will perform all the roles in the play. Typically, the cast will be seated in chairs onstage, and they will read their lines from the script. They might occasionally stand up and move about. There may also be a narrator, who reads aloud stage directions and describes scenery or movement as written in the script. There will be no costumes or sets.
The themes of this year’s chosen plays are probably “of interest” to those approximately 12 and up.
Overall, play readings are similar to reading non-picture books to your children at home. If your child can focus, listen, pay close attention, and imagine the setting for the play, she or he will probably enjoy the reading. Remember: there are no costumes or sets, and there is no action.
Play readings at Dreamcatcher are about discovering new artists and their works, and including yourself in the development cycle of the plays. You will get to witness a work in progress, and afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the creative team. Playwrights often use readings to test new characters and lines in front of live audiences. And if you do come back for a fully staged production, you might notice some of your suggestions incorporated into the final performance.