This April, The New Ensemble will host the Hot Off the Stages! Play Reading Series at the Revue Cafe on three consecutive Tuesday evenings.
Ensemble members and other local actors will read 2010 Tony Award Wining “Red” by John Logan, 2008 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning “August: Osage County” and the wildly popular Off-Broadway comedy “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl. These plays are tearing up the boards with accolades and awards across the nation and have critics and audiences praising them at every turn.
The New Ensemble play readings give Fresno theater-lovers a chance to hear a new play spoken aloud, as intended, perhaps before they’ve had a chance to see it locally or regionally. For those who want to be in-the-know or in-the-now for theatre, these play readings are a terrific opportunity to be stirred up by some of America’s finest contemporary playwrights.
The schedule of plays:
Tuesday, April 5. RED by John Logan.
Master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art, a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. Raw and provocative, RED is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.
Tuesday, April 12: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY by Tracy Letts
A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. Mix in Violet, the drugged-up, scathingly acidic matriarch, and you’ve got a major new play that unflinchingly—and uproariously—exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family.
Tuesday, April 19: DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE by Sarah Ruhl
An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man—with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by d Pulitzer Prize finalist, Sarah Ruhl, author of Eurydice. A work about how we memorialize the dead—and how that remembering changes us—it is the odyssey of a woman forced to face her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.
All readings begin at 7 p.m. and are free of charge. Come early to have a coffee and pastry at Revue Cafe (Olive Avenue at Broadway) and mingle with the casts.