The playreading is the troupe's primary function. There are usually two or
three playreadings each semester, each having anywhere from two
to five plays being read. Plays are usually due to the Artistic
Director via email about a week before the reading. He then assigns
actors to the roles in each show so that the actors may look over
the parts. Hopefully, everyone drags themselves out of bed the day
of the reading. The first play is read through. The chairs are then
arranged in a circle. We then go through four stages of discussion:
1) General feelings about the play. The actors
and other spectators give their initial knee-jerk reactions, both
good and bad.
2) Questions from the playwright. The playwright
gets to ask questions to those whi just read/heard the play. It
is helpful if the playwright thinks of these ahead of time. Some
possible questions include: are there any lines you thought were
out of character? Did you find any holes in the plot? Any slow-moving/unnecessary
moments? What did you think of the character of Jim? etc.
3) Questions to the playwright. These must be
non-judgemental. Usually to clear up uncertain points. These are
not comments, but merely questions. Examples include: What are you
trying to accomplish with the play? Do you plan on making this scene
a one-act, full play, or leaving it as-is? Do you see Trisha as
a good character?
4) Comments. We are especially careful about the
comments. Comments must always be preceded by the following statement.
"I have a comment about *blank*, would you like to hear it?"
The blank is obviously filled in with whatever the comment is about.
If the playwright agrees, the comment can be made. These can be
both positive and negative, but negative comments should be phrased
constructively ("Perhaps you could consider adding some more
depth to this character") rather than negatively ("I hate
this horribly underdeveloped character").