Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

FST Test Drives New Plays with Staged Readings

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

FST Test Drives New Plays with Staged Readings

Article excerpt

Florida Studio Theatre is giving audiences a sample of five new plays, including one it has created itself, as it launches the 2014 Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series.

The Burdick series, named for longtime supporters of the theater, features three staged readings of new plays. Two additional works will be read as extras to test audience reactions.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Monday with "Dancing Lessons" by Mark St. Germain, whose "The Best of Enemies" and "Freud's Last Session" have been hits for the theater in the last year.

"Dancing Lessons" is about an autistic professor learning to dance from a neighbor, a Broadway dancer who was recently injured. Together they learn to deal with their obstacles. The play will have its world premiere in the fall in New York.

At 7 p.m. on May 5, the theater will present "Chatting with the Tea Party," by Rich Orloff, whose "Veronica's Position" was presented at FST 20 years ago. It is written in the style of a documentary play as Orloff travels the country interviewing Tea Party members. The play is said to poke fun at all sides of the political spectrum.

The final production is "For the Ages," a project created by FST with director KJ Sanchez's American Records company. Theater staff and volunteers have interviewed dozens of area residents about aging for a play that associate artist Jason Cannon said should have resonance far beyond Sarasota.

"Studies show that 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day," he said. "The makeup of our country is shifting under our feet. The rest of the country will look more like us in Sarasota in 20 years."

The theater has presented excerpts drawn from more than 100 hours of interviews, and the performances in the Burdick series will be the first staged reading of a full draft of the play.

Sanchez is working with her collaborator Emily Ackerman to complete the script, which may be revised further in the months ahead, Cannon said. …

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