‘Three Sisters’ to Headline Stripped-down Show
Staged reading kicks off Concordia Symposium
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 17:09
Nearly everyone associates plays and musicals with the theater arts, but there is one other kind of production most people do not even think of—staged readings.
Staged readings are just what they sound like. Essentially, it is stripping the show down to only its script and actors without anything else—no costumes, no set, no makeup, no music. It is this type of production that Concordia College Theatre has chosen to kick off its 2013 Faith, Reason & World Affairs Symposium, “Happiness: Living the Good Life.”
Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” the material chosen for the reading, will be read for one night only this Monday. Partially based upon the Brontë sisters of literary fame, this play concerns the lives of three sisters who long to return to Moscow where they believe their happiness lies.
“Happiness isn’t necessarily something we can look for outside of ourselves and Chekhov explores that beautifully, you know, 130 years ago,” assistant theatre professor Jen Thomas said.
Pared down to just the bare basics—the script and actors—this staged reading did not require the time and effort that goes into fully-fledged productions. However, one interesting fact has been made apparent when tying a staged reading into the college symposium.
“We put it together in typically about two rehearsals and what we found—we started this last year—the symposium topic last year was genocide, and what we found was students are willing to ask questions and are willing to engage with stories more readily when they aren’t necessarily connected to somebody’s real story,” Thomas said.
“You are careful about the questions you ask when you are talking to somebody who has dealt with—who has lived through genocide,” he said. “One of our speakers—well, several of our speakers, but one in particular—had lived through it, she had lost family, and the students were very careful about what they would ask. When you’re dealing with a play it creates sort of this safe distance, this safety where you can say ‘I don’t understand why this character did this’ and ‘I don’t understand how this person let this go on.’ And so you’re able to ask questions to make comments in ways that really allow for some fruitful discussion.”
Following the reading, a talkback will take place among the audience and those participating in the performance to expand on the ideals of the play.
“[T]he audience is involved in a talkback and then we have local or faculty scholars to help facilitate that discussion, to help answer questions, [and] to offer insight into the topic,” Thomas said.
Concordia College Theatre’s staged reading of “Three Sisters” will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the Mainstage of the Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre in association with the college symposium “Happiness: Living the Good Life” from Sept. 10 to 11. Admission is free.