By September 1, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Everyone’s a Star with Reader’s Theatre

There’s great excitement at my house, as my wife has been cast as Tracy  philadelphia-storyLord in a local community theater production of The Philadelphia Story, a play by Philip Barry. For those of you whose only reference is the 1940 film, Tracy Lord is the Katharine Hepburn part (no pressure there, huh, mon cher?) Given that our shared love for the film (who can argue against the trifecta of Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart?) was one of the many things that Sharon and I bonded over, it seems especially fitting that she play the part.

In preparation, we’ve been enjoying home read-throughs of the play, and I can’t help but think that similar readings would be a wonderful departure for book groups. Why not spend a month each year reading through this underappreciated form of literature? It’s easy enough to rotate parts based on the size of your group, or you can choose a large cast play. I recommend one of Shakespeare’s comedies, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, Kaufman and Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You or The Man Who Came To Dinner,  Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood, or for something more recent, The History Boys by Alan Bennett or August: Osage County by Tracy Letts.

Since plays are quick to read, this is a good choice for meetings in a month when your readers don’t have much time to prepare. It’s a great way to get everyone involved and guaranteed to generate a few laughs and a few surprises.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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