Department of Theatre

Summer 2006

Voices in American Drama: A Summer Play Reading Series

This summer-long reading series included staged readings of new plays every fourth Thursday of the month from May through August in FLC’s picturesque, mesa-top amphitheater. The work ranged from experimental shorts to a fact-based historical play about Helen Gahagan Douglas. The performers included students enrolled at FLC and professional actors from the community. The performances were directed by alumni, faculty, and locally-based theater professionals. 

With an emphasis on developing new works, the Fort Lewis College Reading Series played a critical role in pushing two plays from the written page to full-scale productions. The format of staged readings, with minimal sets and less-intensive rehearsal schedules, allowed writers, directors, and actors to concentrate intensively on script development as the plays moved to the next level. The organizers and participants of the 2006 Summer Play Reading Series are very proud to be a part of bringing these new American plays into full productions. This year's works included: 

Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Helen Gahagan Douglas, a full-length historical play by Wendy Kout and Michele Willens, playwrights from Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, is under consideration for a full production by the prestigious Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Kout and Willens attended the FLC Reading Series to work on their play and recently held another staged reading in Los Angeles, featuring actress Wendie Malick in the title role. 

Cliff Hershman, an Ohio-based playwright, traveled to Durango in May for the reading of his play, Dreams in Smoke. The play, now re-titled, A Narrow Bridge, went on to another reading in Cleveland, Ohio, and has just been chosen for The Bang and the Clatter Theatre Company’s 2007 season. Hershman’s world premiere will be included in a season that also features the work of playwrights Neil LaBute, Adam Rapp, and Eric Bogosian.

Fort Lewis College concluded its debut summer theater offering the Voices in American Drama Play Reading Series, on August 24, 2006, with a packed amphitheater that had come to see the stage adaptation of the Louis L’Amour story, “Merrano of the Dry Country.”