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The St. Louis Writers' Group had two exciting evening of one-act plays in August 2006. The works of ten playwrights were featured in the evenings. Chris Gibson the theatre reviewer for KDHX gives his impression of one of the evenings below.

Chris Gibson – An Evening of One-Act Play Readings

The St. Louis Writer’s Group is presenting two evenings of one-act play readings in the casual atmosphere of the upstairs loft at the Soulard Coffee Garden. The group was founded by playwright Mario Farwell and they meet each Monday to read their work and receive feedback from the audience and their peers. On this occasion four one-acts plays had staged readings.

A staged reading is an interesting experience for the uninitiated. You’re seeing a play performed that could be one step away from a full production with sets and costumes and the like. What the authors are looking for is feedback so that they can hone their work and make it more of a saleable product. This is essentially a theatre of the mind experience, and as such, has something in common with old time radio. Both can come alive with the right combination of skilled actors and a worthy script.

Two short plays from writer Steve Falcone were presented and both were amusing and well performed by Cindy Duggan and Mark Maloney. Apple & Eve was a cute version of the classic tale of Eve’s temptation by the snake in the Garden of Eden. Beep Beep was also quite funny, but an unexpected downer ending left me feeling shortchanged. John Williams’ Hyphenate was a provocative take on two gifted teens and their awakening sexually and emotionally. While this play was very well written, I’m afraid that certain elements of nudity that are suggested might prevent it from reaching the stage intact. Mario Farwell’s I AM GOAT ended the night on an emotional note. The team of Duggan and Maloney along with Archie Coleman really brought the play to life. It’s an interesting take on the proper way to handle people who have been traumatized and suffered a break from reality. Farwell asks the question of whether a person should be institutionalized or left among society if they’re content in a nurturing environment.

If you have the desire to see something different in local theatre then you should check out The St. Louis Writer’s Group. At the performance I attended evaluation forms were passed out for each play and there was some time for discussion with the playwrights afterwards. It was exciting to me because I wasn’t seeing another play that’s been performed to death. Most importantly, it was good to see local writers getting the chance to see their work performed and an audience reacting to it.

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