Questions for “Sweet: Actors Reading Writers,” a Self-Explanatory Reading Happening Thursday

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11/29/2010 10:26 AM |

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Sweet: Actors Reading Writers is a monthly series in an array of local writers show up to hear their work interpreted by working actors. The next reading, featuring among other things a monologue taken from Ed Park‘s Personal Days, is this Thursday night at Three of Cups. We asked series curator Shelly Oria a couple of questions about the premise.

So the whole premise of this series is basically an acknowledgment that writers are a species universally lacking in charisma, and that for their work to be endurable in a live setting it must be presented by people confident appearing before others… right?
Yes, of course. Not to mention the fact that most writers can’t speak at all. They make strange guttural sounds, and that’s a tough thing on an audience.

No. The premise is that writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry might enjoy and even benefit from having an actor interpret their work, and that actors might enjoy and even benefit from working with texts of these genres—texts that are different from what they usually tackle.

How have writers reacted to the actors’ readings? I imagine an equal potential for spot-on evocation and embarrassing misinterpretation…
Responses have been incredibly positive (an actor and writer are even dating now! Sweet!). I think there is a sense of the actor making the writer’s creation come to life, making a character a flesh and blood human, and there’s something almost magical about that transformation. Plus actors are for the most part very attractive. That helps too.

Where do you get the actors?
I started this series along with the very talented theatre director Annie Levy. Here’s what she says:

“I’ve been directing in NYC for the past ten years, so the majority of the actors are artists I’ve worked with in the past. If I hear their voice when I read the pages, I try to make the match. And since we curate such a wide range of works, there is the opportunity to challenge actors in ways that are relevant to their training and stage presence—a classically-trained actor working with contemporary poetry, a movement-based actor reading an action-based memoir, actors reading multi-character stories, etc.”