Guns, lesbians, sex, babies, religion and other revelations were among the topics aspiring scriptwriters brought on stage Feb.1 within the first Hothouse Reading Series of the year.
Attended by about 60 people, this annual event gives the students an opportunity to demonstrate their playwriting skills and get a response from the audience and community so that they can finalize their projects.
Unlike classical theatrical performances, the Hothouse Reading Series involves only basic production elements and mainly concentrates on the scripts. However, they are read by professional actors under the guidance of a director, Paul Dervis. After three plays the students get a chance to sit in front of the audience, answer questions and listen to their reaction.
Emily Ramsay was one of the participants. She presented her script “Coffee With a Lesbian” that tells a story about a woman who decides to come out to her best friends and finds out that she is not the only one hiding a skeleton in her closet. That incident makes the group of friends reconsider the concept of friendship.
“Most of the stuff that I write about is something that I felt emotionally or what affected me personally,” said Ramsay.
“I’m in my 30s. Once you get to that age you realize that friendships come and go and you’re trying to hold on to that friendship, but sometimes it’s just not possible. I wanted to reflect that in my play and make something comedic out of it,” she added.
The students had been working on their scripts since last semester. For most of them it was their first experience of writing for stage.
“This group of students had never actually written for stage before. Most of them want to get into writing for television or especially film, ” said professor Beverley Wolfe.
Wolfe added that it’s encouraging to see how the students are getting interested in writing for stage after they hear their words are getting read by professional actors and directed by a professional director.
“It’s always surprising to them to hear their words be read aloud and it’s a good surprise,” said Wolfe.
After the performances were done, Dervis said that these plays were the best he has seen in 10 years.
The next “Hothouse Reading Series” will take place on March 7 and will help bring to life seven more fresh plays from scriptwriting students.