Telling History through Readers Theater
Readers Theater presents literature in dramatic form, with the script present and with no, or only suggestive, set pieces or props. Actors may be seated or standing throughout the reading. Narration is the framework, and the actors may not necessarily indicate the “presence” of the other “characters,” but in some cases, an actor will choose to interact with the other actor-reader(s) by making eye contact and/or giving an appropriate visual expression. The idea or objective of Readers Theater is to allow the audience to receive the heart of the work, to hear the “music” in the language, and to experience what the writer has to say through his characters voices, without visual enhancements or distractions.
VOICES FROM THE PAST
Three Dynamic Dialogues
Through the Readers Theater production LITERARY LOVERS, you will get a peek into the relationships of three pairs of acclaimed authors: Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett & Lillian Hellman, and Dorothy Thompson & Sinclair Lewis.
Probably no other literary love affair is more famous than that of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Sayre. Theirs was a life that defined an age and yet they fell from personal and literary promise to emotional and financial despair. The unconventional, 30-year relationship between novelist Dashiell Hammett and playwright Lillian Hellman inspired and fueled the work each offered the literary world. The marriage of journalist and commentator on world affairs, Dorothy Thompson, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Sinclair Lewis, was a tempestuous union between brilliant minds, which offers clues to some of their work.
The story of each pair provides insight into how the work of these writers is imbued with the experiences each author shared with the object of his or her affection. Annette Baldwin compiled and edited these stories from the authors’ diaries, letters, and journals. Note: This is a two-person show, and where a screen and an LCD projector are available it offers projected images to accent the narrative.
By Necessity/By Choice:
Seven Women in America’s Early Workplace
In pre-industrial societies, nearly everyone worked, but almost no one did for wages. Until early in the 19th century, the home operated as a unit of production, and a division of labor by gender, though common, was not rigid. As production moved out of the household and women began working for wages, primarily out of necessity, the kinds of work they did and how it identified them changed dramatically. By the end of WWII, women had worked in many capacities, especially for America’s defense, and they discovered that work outside the home – beyond mere necessity – appealed to them; they began to choose the kind of work they would do. By Necessity/By Choice reveals seven stories of actual women and of fictional composites illustrating the history of women in the early workplace. Our story moves from the middle 1800’s, when women were laboring in the cotton textile mills and shoe factories of New England, to 1960, just before the feminine mystique was about to explode and create another revolution. Note: This is a two-person show.
LIVING THE WAR: Women Inside the Confederate Capital
Brave, Thrifty, Hopeful and in Love
During the American Civil War, the citizens of Richmond, Virginia, endured four years of attacks and nearly one year of siege. Because it was the Capital of the Confederacy, the city represented the Confederate Cause, and its capture and surrender would mean the defeat of the South. “On to Richmond!” was the Union war cry. As in any country under the scourge of war, the women are the strength, stamina, courage and resilience behind the men in the battle field.
While Living the War is specific to the women of Richmond, Virginia, this story helps us understand the suffering and the hope of the citizens of any little town or city surrounded by warfare during the Civil War. Through the letters and diligent recordings in diaries and journals of actual women living in Richmond during the war, we experience with them their courage and fear, their joy and despair, horror and relief. We also feel their love and loyalty to their men, and can smile at the resourcefulness they employ as everyday necessities and pleasures disappear. Note: This is a two-person show, and where a screen and an LCD projector are available it offers projected images to accent the narrative..