Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Reading of "Eat, Slay, Leave" by the Playwright Cabal at the Phoenix Theatre

The Playwright Cabal is "an ambitious group of female-identified professional playwrights who promote the development of new scripted plays in the Twin Cities and one another’s success." This fall, they're presenting a series of readings of new works by each the five members (Katherine Glover, Gemma Irish, Alayna Jacqueline, Heather Meyer, and Rachel Teagle). This program, entitled New Leaf, is free to attend, and includes pre- and post-show happy hour as well as a post-show discussion of the work presented. All readings are at the Phoenix Theatre in Uptown, and it's a really great way to see what our local female playwrights are up to.

Last night, I attended the second play of the series - a staged reading of Eat, Slay, Leave by Heather Meyer. Fortuitously, this comedy-horror play set in a cabin in Northern Minnesota was read on the Phoenix stage, which is set up as a creepy cabin for Minneapolis Musical Theatre's production of Night of the Living Dead! The Musical! (playing through October 27). The actors did have scripts in hands, as is typical for a reading, but they were moving around a lot more than usual readings, which gave a better idea of what a fully staged production might look like.

This very funny and clever play centers around three friends who gather for a weekend cabin getaway, inadvertently conjure up spirits that represent the parts of themselves they want to let go of, and spend the weekend fighting themselves. It's a cool premise that has some fun spooky elements, but with a little more depth as you contemplate what it means to change and grow and let go of the past. The fabulous all female cast (Debra Berger, Taj Ruler, Victoria Pyan, Nissa Nordland, Tara Lucchino, and Amy Pirkl, with stage directions read by Gina Musto) really breathed life into Heather's words. After the show, the feedback session allowed the audience to share their thoughts with the team (also including director Anna Crace and producer Sophie Peyton) as an important step in the new play development process.

I love attending readings of new works (see also Nautilus Music-Theater's monthly "Rough Cuts" series, and lots of events at Playwrights' Center including their upcoming Playlabs Festival, just to name a few). It's fun and informal, typically features some of #TCTheater's best actors, and I love getting a peek inside the process of creating new works of theater.

Here's the full schedule of New Leaf readings. Please follow Playwright Cabal on Facebook for all the details.

GEMMA IRISH Tuesday, September 10th @ 7:00pm
HEATHER MEYER Tuesday, October 8th @ 7:00pm
RACHEL TEAGLE Tuesday, October 22nd @ 7:00pm
ALAYNA JACQUELINE Tuesday, November 19th @ 7:00pm
KATHERINE GLOVER Tuesday, December 10th @ 7:00pm

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