Staged Readings That Move Our Community

To be honest, I’m not very fond of reading plays. Plays are for viewing, experiencing; novels are for reading. It helps if I read it out loud, and try to imagine the different characters, but that can be awkward in coffee shops and airport terminals. I know, I’m a “theatre guy” so I shouldn’t be bothered by involuntary audiences. Perhaps it’s the blue collar worker in me, or maybe because I only like to reveal finished products. Or at least something that is clearly organized. All that is just one reason why I love our Staged Reading Series.

About four times a season, we gather in The Square Room (4 Market Square, downtown) for a staged reading of a fantastic play. It’s free to the public, and features plays by the likes of Neil Simon, George Bernard Shaw, and Mitch Albom. From Freud’s Last Session, to God’s Favorite, we do rehearsed readings of pieces that we love, but aren’t ready to do as a mainstage production. If you haven’t been to The Square Room, it’s a wonderful venue with plenty of space, state of the art sound, and still an intimate setting. Frankly, it’s the perfect space to get together, grab a good cup of locally roasted coffee or glass of wine from the café, and enjoy a professional level reading with an intimate feel and a community discussion. Almost too good to be true.

Sounds as if this whole blog is just an advertisement for our staged reading series and, well, I guess it is. But only because if you haven’t been you are missing out; so really I’m doing you a favor. The experience is sharp and profound, and the discussions following the reading are rich and insightful. After God’s Favorite, which is a comedic take on the story of Job by Neil Simon, we went from laughing till our ribs hurt to discovering ancient theology. After Keeping Watch, an alarmingly relevant piece by Thomas Ward, we churned over the power of words, and their appropriate uses. After Last Train to Nibroc, by Arlene Hutton, we asked the cast to perform it as a mainstage production this Fall (look for it in September).

This truly does not cover the experiences we have had in The Square Room for this series. Some folks laughed in a way they haven’t been able to for quite some time. Some were moved, and left the room a new person. How do I describe our experience with the jazzy opera rendition of Pilgrim’s Progress? All this to say, when The WordPlayers perform a reading of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie on Monday June 13, it will be my birthday. I plan to be at The Square Room, you should too.

For more information about our upcoming staged readings, visit our website at You can also get to know The Square Room at

Talk to me.

Ethan Norman
Artistic Associate, The WordPlayers