Indy Actors' Playground launched

March 6, 2013
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1. As IBJ's A&E editor and arts columnist, I've seen a lot of terrific theater over the years. But one of the things I've yearned for here is a regular series of play readings. There's something unique and wonderful about what can happen when talented actors--without the aid of sets, costumes, special lighting or even memorization of lines--can bring a story and characters to life. Perhaps it's a throwback to the pleasures of radio drama. Perhaps it goes even further back to having stories told to us at bedtime. Whatever the case, the format draws me.

2. In conversations with actors over the years, I've found that most have plays that they are dying to do--if only some theater would produce them. But these plays may not have a commercial hook. They may not have a director passionate enough about the project to pitch it. They may be too expensive to fully stage because of cast size or design requirements. Or they may be too risky for any of dozens of other reasons.

3. Often, the casting of plays is a compromise. A desired actor may already be booked at a scheduled time. Another may not be quite the right age or look to be "right" for a full production.

Recently, actor Bill Simmons and I--after casually talking about the above for years--put those three elements together and launched Indy Actors' Playground.

What's that?

Each month, we find an Indy actor with a play he or she is passionate about (new, classic, unknown oldie, whatever) but that hasn't been staged here in the past few years and isn't on an upcoming schedule.

He or she casts it, makes sure everyone has a script, and we read it on the third Monday of the month at Indy Reads Books on Mass Ave. No payment. No publicity push. We don't even announce what the play will be (We do keep a Facebook page here for feedback and to announce casts).

Our first reading, selected by Simmons in February, was thrilling. This month, Paul Hansen (ATI's "Gypsy," Cardinal Stage's "The 39 Steps") picks the play and is joined by Chuck Goad and Jolene Mentink Moffatt.

Spectators are welcome, of course--at no charge (although we encourage bringing some books to donate to Indy Reads).

The goal is to give Indy talent a chance to dig into a play and for talented actors to explore together without worrying about the realities of getting a full production staged.

Care to join us on March 18th?

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

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  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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