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Playwrights to test out draft scripts



Monitor staff
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hatbox Theatre will host the Granite State Playwright Workshop, which was created to help local playwrights turn their scripts into real productions, with casting, rehearsals, and audiences.

This program gives the writers the chance to improve their work and make it exactly what they wanted. The shows are not how you may expect them to be. They are script-in-hand performances, but rehearsals still take place to prepare for an audience.

Working Title Productions is running their second Granite State Playwright Workshop. Amanda Pawlik, the producer, and her friend, Jackie Marcoux, a director, started the company two years ago.

In September, auditions were held for two plays, and ever since then the cast and playwrights have been working together during monthly rehearsals to give time to the writers to adjust and improve aspects of their work, Pawlik said.

One twist on this program is that the audiences are asked to critique the playwrights’ work after the performances. Audience members are welcomed to write notes, telling each writer what they thought about the play, how they felt, and what improvements could be made. This constructive criticism will help the writers to reach their goal of having their plays recognized and performed on a greater scale, Pawlik said.

This year, two New England writers are a part of the workshop. James C. Ferguson of Plainville, Mass., will present The Trophy Wife and Leila Teitelman of Keene will present Awful People Pray.

The Trophy Wife, by Ferguson, has a unique and thoughtful script and is an all-female cast. The play is about a widow, Amanda Thorpe, and her daughter, Talia. When there is the unexpected death of Amanda’s husband, Amanda and Talia need to decide what to do with his shop, The Trophy Wife. In the midst of trying to work together to make a plan for the store, Amanda and Talia meet a real-life trophy wife. The woman offers to get involved in the decision of what should happen to Amanda’s late husband’s store. Along the way, the trio discovers secrets, come up with questions, possibly unanswerable, and learn a little about each one’s destiny. The play is about change and the different paths that can lead to unexpected things.

Awful People Pray, by Teitelman, is the second and more suggestive of the two plays. With the heavy topics of acceptance, religion, fear and judgment, Teitelman created a very interesting and original piece, although not recommended for young audiences. Awful People Pray is about a transgender woman, Jade, who is joining a summer camp in Maine as a camp counselor. She struggles with the fear of being judged by camp-goers and counselors alike because of the stigma around being transgender. This story delves deeper into how religion and social “rules” can make up a person’s mind and beliefs. The main questions, though, are “Who was God created for?” and “How are rules decided?”

The Granite State Playwright Workshop will take place at Hatbox Theatre on Jan. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. The plays are not long, and there will be an intermission between them. The shows combined will last about two hours. Tickets are $17 for adults, $14 for students, seniors, and members, and $12 for senior members. Purchase tickets at the box office or make reservations by emailing boxoffice@hatboxnh.com or by calling 715-2315. For more information, visit hatboxnh.com.