Middlebury Actors Workshop inaugurates reading series of contemporary plays

MIDDLEBURY — Provocative, relevant, intelligent New York Theatre is coming to Middlebury.
In staged readings of four plays the Middlebury Actors Workshop  will share the bold, clever work of some of the most dynamic young writers to hit the New York scene in the last 5 to 10 years. Each play enjoyed a successful run in a boundary-pushing Off-Broadway theater. Each play speaks to our contemporary moment. 
The Series will be curated and directed by Becky Strum, a newcomer to the Vermont theater scene, with a distinguished history of directing and teaching theater in the New York Metro area. Each play will be rehearsed and performed by Vermont’s finest actors.
The series will debut in September at Town Hall Theater but you will find us in various Middlebury venues for each play.
All play readings will be on Sundays at 4 p.m., with refreshments and discussion for those interested. Admission is free, and donations encouraged. The series is supported in part by Town Hall Theater.
Scheduled plays include:
•  September 10,  4 p.m. at Town Hall Theater Studio. “Marjorie Prime” by Jordan Harrison. Sometime in the future, 85-year-old Marjorie — a jumble of fading memories — has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember and what would we forget, if given the chance? Jordan Harrison, a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist, explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits — if any — of what technology can replace.
•  November 5, 4 p.m., at Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse. “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley. The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination. (Content warning, not appropriate for children under 16)
•  February 25, 2018, 4 p.m. at Town Hall Theater Studio, “Sex With Strangers” by Laura Eason. When twenty-something prodigy sex blogger Ethan tracks down his idol, the gifted but unsung forty-ish novelist Olivia, he finds they each crave what the other has. As attraction turns to sex, and they inch closer to getting what they want, both confront the dark side of ambition and the trouble of reinventing oneself when the past is only a click away. (Language warning)
•  June 3, 2018, 4 p.m., Stonecutter Spirits, “The Big Meal,” by Dan LeFranc. Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole first meet. Sparks fly, and so begins an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. A stunning, big-hearted play that spans nearly eighty years in roughly ninety minutes, “The Big Meal” tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family.
Rebecca Strum, director and arts-educator from the New York Metropolitan Area is excited to make theatre in Vermont.  She believes that the collaborative nature of theatre provides opportunities learn about ourselves, each other and our world, and that through this work we almost always grow in the process.
Memorable collaborations for Rebecca include directing the New Jersey professional premiers of David Mamet’s “Oleanna” and Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” at Summmerfest Theatre, directing Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Heidi Chronicles” at William Paterson University and serving as founder/artistic director of The Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (a New Jersey Model School of the Arts) in Hackensack, where she directed young actors in works as diverse as “Twelfth Night” and “42nd Street.”

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