Creating the magic of theater

Upcoming play-reading festival reveals the genesis of great theatrical productions |

Before ever seeing the lights of Broadway, every play must start somewhere. Through its entertaining, illuminating and interactive play-reading festival, Boulder’s prestigious Local Theater Company invites the public to participate in the process.

Yes, you.  For three days in March, you can attend professional readings of three new, never-produced and promising plays – each attended by its author, and every part performed by a professional actor.

Despite the VIPs on hand, festival producers say the most important people in the room will be Boulder audience members. That’s because writers are hungry for raw reactions to their work. And Boulder, it turns out, offers the perfect audience prototype: smart and sophisticated without the heavy ego factor of some literatis.

“Playwrights love to have their work read here in Boulder, because the feedback they get is incredibly insightful and useful,” explains Local Theater Company’s co-founder Pesha Rudnick. “Audiences here are engaged and open to the artform.”

Local Logo 3In post-show discussions, playwright and audience examine hits and misses together. Big laugh lines may get punched up; wane conclusions clarified. From here the playwrights (James McLindon, Kyle Warren and Alison Carey) use the feedback to further refine their scripts.

What LOCAL LAB takes from its audiences it gives back 10-fold in absorbing entertainment. A group of us were treated to a glimpse of one of this year’s featured plays – Thoreau and Other Assholes – during an informal reading at the Highland City Club.  Terrific.

LOCAL LAB’s festivities include a schedule of parties (“A glass of wine is a great way to get a conversation going,” Ms. Rudnick explains). It also features a script analysis workshop taught by the literary manager of New York City’s prestigious Roundabout Theater Company, Jill Rafson.  Ms. Rafson also will moderate post-reading discussions.

“She’s a force,” Ms. Rudnick says.

Local jewelry designer Todd Reed – a major supporter of the recent Boulder International Film Festival – will host the festival’s launch party. The entire schedule, tickets and details can be found on Local Theater Company’s website.

“I see the festival as one of Boulder’s great cultural additions,” explains Carolyn Schuham, a member of Local Theater’s advisory committee. “They bring a whole new dimension of serious theater to Boulder’s rich and growing arts landscape.”

This year marks the third annual LOCAL LAB festival, a pinnacle event for the very busy Local Theater Company, which also runs year-round theatrical education programs and stages full-blown productions of its own. Watch this space. We will be featuring some of those events in future posts.

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