This weekend, I'm taking part in one of my very favorite theatrical activities: a staged reading. I love doing these because they are:
A.) Labor non-intensive. Little or no rehearsal, usually a one-time thing so it doesn't take up the whole weekend, much less multiple weekends. No costumes or makeup, or even blocking (generally).
B.) Suited to my particular talents. I don't claim to be good at a lot of things--in fact, I stink at pretty much all skills considered highly valuable by modern American society. So I don't think I'm bragging when I say that I am really, really good at reading aloud (my ideal career would be to record audio books!).
C.) Quintessentially creative. Most staged readings are done in order to bring a new work off the page and into the mouths of real people, which is arguably the most important function of dramatic literature. Silently reading a play is very different from hearing it aloud, even sans production elements, and in certain cases it's absolutely essential to understanding it (Chekhov comes to mind).
I love being part of the process of bringing new work to life. Staged readings are generally done when a play is still in its most embryonic form. It's invaluable to the author to hear their words, both to catch continuinity issues and to hear alternative interpretations (as anyone who's had a high school lit class debate can attest, no two people will interpret the same book in the same way).
Additionally, working with a play at the early stage makes me feel integral to the act of storytelling--which is, as I've said before on this blog--what draws me to the creative arts. It's like planting a little seed and watching it grow!
So that's my theatre-geeky Saturday night plans. With perhaps a little late-night Downton Abbey catch-up later. It's an exciting life I lead, no?