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Posted: Oct. 3, 2012 at 7:40 a.m.
WILLIAMSTON - Williamston Theatre,Mid-Michigan's award-winning professional theater company, introduces its new theatrical experience in "found spaces" (rooms that are not traditional theater spaces), "Dark Nights in Billtown." The first round of staged readings will take place Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4.
What happens in those weeks between shows at the Williamston Theatre? After a show closes, the next show's set is "loaded in" to the theater space and rehearsals begin. The powerful lighting instruments aren't in use, so we say that the theater has "gone dark". During those "dark nights," the Williamston Theatre Four (Tony, Chris, Emily, and John) miss the ebb and flow of the community in and out of the theater's doors - and they started to ask themselves, "What if we transformed other spaces in the building into temporary performance spaces? What if we did staged readings of plays, which require much less rehearsal than a full production and no design process? And in a presidential election year, what if we staged readings of plays that provoked thought and discussion about political and social issues?"
For the first installment of "Dark Nights in Billtown," we've curated a collection of political and economically themed short plays (and a poem) as an opportunity to consider how politics and government impact our daily lives. A mixture of familiar faces as well as some actors who may be new to Williamston Theatre's audiences will perform each gem of a play offering a slightly different experience, ranging from humor to poignancy.
The November schedule is as follows:
Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.: "November" by David Mamet
What wouldn't you do to get re-elected? President Charles Smith will do whatever it takes, including taking down the National Association of Turkey and Turkey By-Products Manufacturers - and that's only the beginning! Mamet's acerbic wit is in full force as he satirizes a politician's scurrilous attempts to secure his re-election. This one will have you slapping your knee and doubling over in the best kind of pain: full-on belly laughs! Features Jon Bennett, Dave Davies, Tobin Hissong and Suzi Regan.
Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.: "The Election" by Don Zolidis
High school elections are a great way for kids to learn about the democratic process - if by "democratic process" you mean pandering, mud slinging, and manipulative political ads! A chorus of actors play the confused and fickle electorate who swirl around the candidates, leaving laughs in their wake. As the teenaged political enemies face-off, what will they learn about themselves, democracy, and the election process? Join us for a night of fast-paced delight featuring Melissa Beckwith, Blake Bowen, Lydia Hiller, Aral Gribble, Drew Parker and Chris Purchis.
Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.: We the People: short plays from diverse voices"
"Seeing the Light" by Robert McKay
"Middle Kingdom" by Howard Korder
"Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes
"Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Thad Davis
"Bad Santa" by Melinda Lopez & Maxine Lopez-Keough
Featuring Adia Alli, Cynthia Szezcny and Rico Bruce Wade.
"Dark Nights in Billtown" will be an intimate theatrical experience in "found spaces" (rooms that are not traditional theater spaces, but have been adapted for theatrical purposes), which means that there will be limited seating: only 25 seats will be available for each show. Call 517-655-SHOW to have your name put on "The Billtown List."
Admission is a suggested donation of $5 per person at the door.
Williamston Theatre patrons will find ample parking on the street and in several municipal lots throughout the city. The theater is located at 122 S. Putnam Street in downtown Williamston (exit 117 off of I-96) just south of Grand River Avenue.
Additional information about the company and the 2012-2013 season is available online at www.williamstontheatre.org or by calling 517-655-7469.