What was the secret to the success of Readers Theatre Repertory’s May 15-16 offering, “Five Actors, Five Plays”? “Well, we started with a great book of ten-minute plays,” said Wendy Wilcox, one of two directors for the evening. Chosen were “Left to Right,” by Steven Dietz, “The Sniper,” by Anthony David and Elaine Romero, “Grand Designs,” by Susan Miller, “Daniel on a Thursday,” by Garth Winfield, and “Marred Bliss,” by Mark O’Donnell. “Both of us found several stories we wanted to tell, so we batched them.” Added director Mary McDonald-Lewis “Each story has these iterating themes around love, fear, and faith that we really wanted to play with.” Then, add a cast up to the job.
With one read-through and two rehearsals, mounting five plays in five days was a challenge. Wilcox said, “These are really smart stories, with important ideas and sassy wordplay. Luckily, actors in Portland jump at the chance to create something meaningful in a compressed time frame. It brings out choices they might otherwise overlook.” Laughed McDonald-Lewis, “I think terror has a lot to do with it. We have less than a week to unlock the secrets to these stories!” The five plays ranged from sweet and sad, to political, to dark, all the way to hilarious and absurd.
“Five Actors, Five Plays” concluded RTR’s eighth season of staging one-hour theatre at Blackfish Gallery. Speaking for the company, comprised of five artistic directors, Wilcox and McDonald-Lewis spoke in unison: “Here’s to eight more!”