The Cumberland Theatre will once again hold a New Play Reading Series throughout the season. The series will feature original plays that have not yet been formally produced. Submissions are accepted from all over the country; however, a special emphasis is placed on playwrights who reside in the state of Maryland. The series kicks off on March 22nd.
The plays submitted are read and evaluated by a selection committee. Selected plays receive an informal reading held at the theatre for a live audience. The playwright may attend to hear audience feedback or the session will be recorded for their use as they adapt and refine their work.
This year, three plays were chosen for a reading: Waiting for Fair by F.J. Hartland, Women of a Certain Age by Steve Duprey and Poolside by Chad Marriott. This year’s play selection committee consisted of Steve Cairns, Heather Wallen and Barry Weinberg.
The first reading will be held this Wednesday, March 22nd and will feature Waiting for Fair by F.J. Hartland. The play skids along on the cusp of farce, two couples and a single man and woman trade rapid-fire dialogue and staccato phrases that clearly define their relationships and similar viewpoints while ostensibly focusing on whether the single friends, whom one of the others set up, will or won’t have sex, and then what happens to the pair and among the group after they do.
“At first it seems that clever is all the play will be,” said committee member Weinberg. “But soon we realize that those early scenes are effective set-ups for everything that comes later as the characters, in differing pairings and settings, get fleshed-out, and the humor develops into huge laughs that had my wife alarmed."
The theatre began the reading series in 2019 with the play Good Morning, Miss America which went on to have an Off-Broadway production and is currently being developed into a feature film. “It is exciting to be a small part of the process of developing a new work,” said Artistic Director Kimberli Rowley. “Every theatrical journey starts somewhere and we are excited to see where these plays end up and how they evolve, knowing that CT was a stop along the way.”
The reading is free for the public to attend and will begin promptly at 7:00 pm. The lobby bar will be open for refreshment. All readings are held at the theatre at 101 North Johnson Street. For more information on the reading series, selection process and dates, please visit cumberlandtheatre.com.