Encore Michigan

Roustabout Theatre to perform free new play readings as part of Milan’s summer festival August 23–25

Show Announcement August 16, 2018


The Roustabout Theatre Troupe will return to downtown Milan August 23 through 25 for the third summer in a row, bringing a festival of staged readings featuring all Michigan-born and Michigan-based playwrights. This year’s festival will take a new direction: the Crooked Tree Play Festival has combined with the Milan Summer Fest to create the Route 23 Arts & Music Festival in downtown Milan. The play readings are free, but you can support the theater with cash and credit card donations.

For the entire schedule of the full festival, visit www.route23artsandmusicfestival.com.

The Route 23 Arts & Music Festival aims to connect the entire region with three days of live music; arts, crafts, and writing activities for all ages; and even more staged readings than ever before. These readings will be performed up and down Main Street in businesses, storefronts, and outdoor spaces. Timings will be staggered to allow audiences to come and go as they please and catch as many readings as possible.

“It’s important to us that all audience members feel confident and comfortable attending this festival, whether or not they’ve attended a play or a staged reading before,” explains Anna Simmons, Roustabout’s Managing Director, “Our most common question each year is ‘What is a staged reading?’”

A staged reading is a dramatized interpretation of a script, read live by professional actors. There are no sets or costumes, so audiences can conjure their own images while listening to scenes that have never before been produced on-stage.

“Bringing a series of staged readings together in a festival setting allows audiences to experience many plays in a short amount of time,” says Joey Albright, Artistic Director. “We hope these readings spark lively conversations, ideas, and story-telling among our audiences.” As availability allows, some readings may also be followed by post-show talkbacks with the playwrights.

“We received more submissions this year than ever before, including a surge of one-acts and 10-minute plays,” added Joseph Zettelmaier, Executive Director. This year’s festival will kick-off with an evening of one-act and ten-minute plays performed in quick succession by a single cast. The weekend will also feature two improv performances by guest artists the Natural Born Killaz and a family friendly event on Saturday afternoon.

Admission is free, but please arrive early as many venues have limited seating. Specific venues will be announced as the festival approaches, and alternate locations will be prepared in case of inclement weather. Cash and credit donations made at the readings will go to support the Roustabout Theatre Troupe as they plan their first full season for 2019.

These plays will receive readings:

Heroes Anonymous, by Megan Richards. In a dingy community center, three retired superheroes team up in the fight against the evils of everyday monotony. One day, a young man who recently discovered his super abilities shows up to their meeting, determined of his dream to become a superhero in a world where powers have been outlawed. When tragic news breaks, the four of them try to reconcile the true meanings of right and wrong, justice, and their own personal motives.

Maestro, by Michael Herman. When the king’s maestro dies in 18th century Vienna, two genius composers compete to claim the royal position. Through love, pistols at dawn, and outrageous sarcasm, one of them remains a misunderstood genius while the other becomes the maestro.

Dead Man’s Hand, by Sean Paraventi. After meeting at a high stakes poker table in Vegas, Richard and Elizabeth decide to continue their evening in Richard’s hotel room. We soon discover that this is by no means your ordinary hook up. Both characters open up and perhaps reveal more to each other than they had intended to. As the evening progresses, the pair find themselves locked in a game where the stakes are far higher than at any poker table. It’s a game that perhaps neither one can win.

Our Dragon-Talk, by Kellie Stonebrook. The story of Luke and Nina, two eccentric people desperate to change their lives. They think they’ve found the answer in each other until Nina has an affair. With their lives turned upside down, they are finally forced to confront their own fears and insecurities. A dark comedy, Our Dragon-Talk is a story of re-self discovery in the aftermath of infidelity that challenges our ideas about the complexities of human relationships.

The Men of Sherwood, by Joseph Zettelmaier. A medieval drama. Once, they were Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale, and Will Scarlet. Now they are the last of Robin Hood’s band of rogues, and they think their battles are behind them. Long dead are Robin, Marian, King Richard, and the Sheriff. With Will Scarlet newly freed after years of imprisonment, they all gather at Rufford Abbey to drink wine and remember better days. But for one of them, the battle is far from over. They must face what it means to be a legend, and what happens to warriors who outlive their wars.

Friendship Gas, a 10-minute play by Cary Gitter. A week before Christmas, Tom shows up at Becky’s house for the River Hill Dungeons & Dragons Meetup–but it turns out he’s the only one coming. Friendship Gas is a short comedy about two lost souls in a small town who find each other amid the fantasy of D&D.

Unclaimed Baggage, a one-act play by Marc Holland. When straight-laced Dennis meets arty Mona at the airport terminal, he has a secret plan to make everything work out. But when sparks, romantic and otherwise, begin to fly, we have to wonder if Dennis’s plan will ultimately work out for Mona. Sarah, a wise-cracking airport employee, is the chaperone for this one-of-a-kind blind date. “Unclaimed Baggage” will be the most fun you ever had people-watching at an airport!

Can You Hear Me?, a 10-minute play by Stephen Murray. In the not too distant future everyone’s smartphone is paired with an implant that plays the audio and reads texts directly into your brain. Susan’s microphone on her implant has malfunctioned leading to a tragic accident. A forensic tech is sent to determine if she is liable for the accident while she has to wrestle with her own guilt.

Minor Deviations, a 10-minute play by Erin Osgood. McNally’s wife was one in a million. After her untimely death, McNally looks for a caregiver for their children but struggles to find the right match. Branson Synthetics promises to deliver, but the price may be more than he anticipated. *See this script performed this October as part of the Tipping Point Theatre’s Sandbox Festival!

Monster Girl, a 10-minute play by Jenny Popovich. A question every kid asks themselves: “What should I be for Halloween?” This Halloween, 10-year old Jackie will have to make the decision whether or not to obey her overbearing mother and go as a Disney princess or to completely dis her mother and go as The Wolfman.

A Place of Mist and Shadow, a 10-minute play by Joseph Zettelmaier. Anton DuVane is a famed 1800s spiritualist who performs mysticism for sold-out houses. But his first seance since the death of his partner takes a decidedly unexpected turn.

Week of 9/25/2023

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