Playwright Michael McGovern has founded the Silver Theater Project to create an opportunity for older actors and playwrights to have their voices heard. When one takes into account the age demographic of the theatre-going public at large there seems to be logic in this concept.
Silver Theater launched this past Sunday with a Salon Style (actors seated) reading of two short plays. McGovern’s vision calls for readings monthly to garner support for the project and start serious fundraising as a newly sanctioned 501c3 non-profit. On the horizon, a February fundraiser, spring cabaret and fully staged production next fall.
Retrospect by Kim El started the evening’s performance. Three African-American women. Two nieces and their matriarch aunt gather for a Mother’s Day Brunch. One niece is a stay at home mom, the other a hard-driving career woman. As the brunch progresses, with lubrication provided by a few Long Island Ice Teas, the two young women open up about their life choices and their envy of the life they did not choose.
For an actor, reading seated removes some of their tools, both powerful and subtle, forcing the audience to concentration on the playwright’s words above all else. In this piece’s staging, the actors were on floor level with the audience, creating a “play on the radio” feeling for the audience
The second play of the evening was founder McGovern’s Coffee and Kisses, a short play in four scenes set in a coffee shop. A man meets a woman and flirts, the man asks the woman out. The woman counters with an invitation to a cocktail party. The man accepts if dinner follows, but asks if a friend can join him. The initial connection felt at the coffee shop refocuses at the party which occurs between scene three and four. The outcome is not as expected, but none the less if both funny and cute in the style of an old Carey Grant / Kathrine Hepburn screwball comedy. In this presentation, the actors were mostly seated and visible by the audience, creating a more engaging experience for all.
Retrospect is the more serious of the two, read by Jacqueline Flowers as the sassy Aunt, Katy Cotton, Dominique Briggs as the nieces and Bria Williams as the helpful waitress. Pittsburgh-born poet, playwright, actor and director Kim El has her BA from Duquesne University and has written fifteen plays.
Coffee and Kisses dialogue and situations generated generous laughter throughout as read by Cindy West, Brian Czarniecki, Jane Scuteri-Tinker, Randy Berner and Janet Pazzynski. Michael McGovern received his BFA in Theatre from Point Park College and his MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University. His work has been seen in New York and Pittsburgh.
The Silver Theater project is a great opportunity be both entertained and to be exposed to a different set of veteran actors and playwrights in the Pittsburgh region on a regular reoccurring basis. Bravo for an enjoyable first event! It will be fun to follow the Silver Theater Projects evolution
The next Silver Theatre Project event will be Sunday, October 22nd featuring a Salon Reading of the play Be Still My Heart. The performance is at 7:30 pm at the Glitter Box Theatre on Melwood Avenue. A donation of $10 per person is requested at the door.
For more information, connect with The Silver Theater Project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSilverTheaterProject