Friday, October 26, 2012

Hosting a Professional Reading

Jeff Binder and "students" reading a scene.
On Saturday, October 20th, Uproar had the honor of hosting a reading for Ian Mairs' play, The Learning Curve.  It was a full-length, two act play about a man who got thrown into teaching, not really knowing which direction to take or choices to make.  He fell into a job in a Creative Writing class full of students with various personalities.  

The reading featured many notable actors, including Jeff Binder (NYU alum, B'way: The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and more) as the leading man, and Michael Emerson (Lost, The Practice, and more) as his mentor.  Up and comer, Mason Lee (NYU alum, The Hangover, Pt. II) played one of the students in the creative writing classroom.

But my experience went beyond just watching the reading.  I arrived at the Palladium Multi-Purpose Room at 11:30am, ready to start the day of rehearsal and performance.  When the actors started arriving, the director, another notable figure, Sean Daniels, got together food and water for the actors.

He then made sure they all had scripts, talked about the process of the day, and asked Ian if he had anything to add.  Ian didn't say much, but just that the actors should "play the comedy of it, not the tragedy.  It is a comedy."

Michael Emerson (left) and Jeff Binder, performing a scene.

And then the actors began to read.  A few times, Sean would say, 'Okay, let's do that again, and this time...', but for the most part, he just allowed them to read, and would afterwards give each actor a note that they needed to remember for the reading.

It was acting under pressure, but Sean did everything he could to make it a relaxed setting - it didn't feel high pressure on my end, but that's because the group of people was so fun, chill, and talented.

The reading was a huge success.  The audience responded really positively, and both Sean and Ian seemed extremely thrilled with it.  After the reading, many audience members (an invited audience) and the cast was invited to a fancy/swanky after party.

One day, I'm sure all us Uproarians will be going to fancy/swanky after parties too!

The four "students" in the classroom.

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