Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP) announces the lineup for the second annual Play Reading Festival, Feb. 16-25. This year’s festival features plays from Sarah Ruhl, C.P. Taylor, David Ives, Jen Silverman, a Midwest premiere by Bill Cain and from Wisconsin playwright Marie Kohler, who will attend the fest.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone will be performed Feb. 16. While finishing her lobster bisque, mild mannered and often overlooked Jean discovers her voice as she adopts the cellphone of a gentleman who passes away at the table next to her in the otherwise empty cafe.
And A Nightingale Sang, by C.P. Taylor, takes place during the course of World War II and shares the experiences of a working-class family in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. It will be performed Feb. 17.
Venus in Fur by David Ives, a mysterious, funny and erotic drama, is next in the festival on Feb. 18. Thomas is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochistic tale, “Venus in Fur.” Into his empty audition room walks a vulgar and equally desperate actress – oddly enough, named Vanda. They blur the line between play and reality, entering into an increasingly serious game of submission and domination.
The Midwest premiere of Bill Cain’s How to Write A New Book for the Bible is scheduled for Feb. 23 at 7:30 pm. This beautiful new play is taken from Cain’s own experiences caring for his dying mother. He asks the questions that speak to the heart of every family and brings a fascinating view to this simple, powerful illustration of why the details of our lives and loves matter.
The Dig by Marie Kohler is scheduled for Feb. 24. The Dig is a time-bending, lyrical exploration of the complex bonds between siblings and the stories we pass on to those we love. Kohler will attend the reading and participate in the audience talk back following the performance. Wisconsin actor Brian Mani will recreate his role in The Dig, a role written especially for him.
The final play is The Roommate by Jen Silverman on Feb. 25. The Roommate is dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life and what happens when the wheels come off.
Actors taking on roles in the festival are Teresa Aportela Sergott, Brandon Bogenschutz, Neil Brookshire, Amy Ensign, Alan Kopischke, Kole Mallien, Mark Moede, Claire Morkin, LakerAnne Thrasher, James Valcq, Pam Welter and Mary White.
The readings take place on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and on Sundays at 2 pm. Admission is by a pay-what-you-can donation. An audience discussion of the play with cast and director will follow each reading.