“In my eyes, the staged reading is more about process,” said Dan Stone. “It gives the playwright a glimpse of what she’s written, so she can go back with a good idea of the world that she’s created.”
Without many design elements to consider, the director can focus on working with the actors. “We have a very talented, very energetic group of Humboldt State student actors. Doing a staged reading of a play is a learning experience on its own. It’s something new for some of them, and that’s exciting.”
“It’s not often we see a style of theatre that’s focused on process,” Stone concludes. “That can be exciting for audiences, too.”
Another part of the process is the dramaturg, Margaret Kelso. “My role is as the literary consultant to the director, and also the bridge between the playwright and the director. I like to think of myself as an advocate for the script--for whatever makes the script good. I work with the playwright to develop the script, working on structure and other issues, to make it as strong as it can be while maintaining the vision the playwright had for it. Then I’m in rehearsals, making sure that vision the playwright wants, and is inherent in the script, is being realized by the director and the actors. So this is the role of the dramaturg for new plays.”
For the playwright, the process involves working with the dramaturg on the play before the actors see it, and then attending rehearsals to hear what the director and the actors have done so far.
“When I write, I can hear the play myself, and it all makes perfect sense,” Judy GeBauer said. “But sometimes when it gets into the hands of the actors, things don’t come out the way I expected. Sometimes it’s much better, but sometimes it doesn’t work as well as I thought. So this is a golden opportunity to see and hear it, and make changes.”
But the process doesn’t end with rehearsals. Seeing and hearing it with an audience is essential. “It’s an absolutely wonderful opportunity for a playwright,” GeBauer said. “I can hear the characters, and see if the story and the interactions make sense to the audience and to me.”