Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Changing Places' Sets Staged Reading

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Changing Places' Sets Staged Reading

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

The Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre is hosting a readers' theater this weekend with the opportunity to meet the play's author following the performances.

The staged reading at ABET will showcase Changing Places, a play by Neptune Beach author Ruth Coe Chambers, whom the First Coast Writers Festival has honored twice. Chambers won the festival's playwriting competition for Changing Places in 2005 and received the same award this year for her latest play, She's Wonderful.

The author's first novel, The Chinaberry Album, was published in 1998 and Chambers' short stories have run in several national publications, including The Pittsburgh Magazine. Changing Places is her first play. Chambers has always enjoyed reading plays and says making the transition from literary writing to playwriting wasn't that difficult.

"Everything I write is heavy in dialogue," Chambers said. "I started with a short story as an outline and expanded on it."

Changing Places is set in the South in the mid-1960s. It opens on the day of a funeral and examines the lives of Eben, the deceased, his widow, Emma, and his sister, Liz. In the story, Emma and Liz, who have grown old hating each other, reveal their true personalities.

"In my stories, I like to show a way of life and the way our experiences help develop our personalities," Chambers said.

Chambers is looking forward to seeing her script come alive on ABET's stage and will also take questions from audience members after the performance. ABET members originally planned to produce a full production of Changing Places, but scaled back plans to a staged reading when they were unsuccessful in casting the show.

"A staged reading is a lot like an old radio show, like Prairie Home Companion," said Jennie Jarvis, who is staging the production. "This is a great opportunity for people to see the process of writing a play. …

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