Pulp & PencilPoint TheatreWorks Presents the AADL Pub Reading Series
Why do we bother going out to movie theaters -- with their expensive, salty popcorn and sticky floors -- when we could just sit in the comfort of our own homes binge-watching television? I believe it’s because there’s something nourishing in having a communal experience with others when we’re listening to stories.
There’s something even more fulfilling in watching live theater, especially local and intimate theater, when you’re packed into a room listening to performers who have honed their craft. When done well, it feels deeply personal.
This is the intention of the AADL Pub Reading Series presented by Pulp in partnership with PencilPoint TheatreWorks: a set of staged readings that will be performed at Conor O’Neill’s on the fourth Sunday of each month from April through July. All four of the plays chosen for the Pub Reading Series focus on connecting, and on people who struggle to form a community. They’re also each a witty and brilliant play in their own right.
Theater sometimes focuses on performing spectacles, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that -- when spectacle climbs high enough, it glitters. But there’s something to be said for the quieter type of theater, which asks you to sit next to your neighbors and listen to people tell you a story. It’s a different sort of magic, but it can be enchanting, too. Any great public institution, especially a library, aims to bring together as many people as possible to inform each other, and the Pub Reading Series is about creating public places that embody the essence of community -- informal spaces to talk and laugh with others, sharing ideas with each other.
Ann Arbor is a place built out of elements that can seem dichotomous. It’s a small city that often feels like a very large village. It’s an arts town filled with musicians and craftspeople that erupts into exuberant crowds whenever game days roll 'round. And that’s exactly what makes Ann Arbor so special for the people who have chosen to live here -- it’s got a little bit of everything, and there are so many different types of people living here together.
The goal for the Pub Reading Series is to help bring all these disparate pieces together so that neighbors will sit next to each other in an intimate public place and listen to others tell them stories. In other words, we hope the Pub Reading Series will carve out another space where we can continue building our community.
April 22: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
A hilarious and hopeful comedy about remarkably gloomy people that’s (very) loosely based on themes from Anton Chekhov’s plays in which three middle-aged siblings reunite for the first time in many years. As they each begin to implode, they start looking back on the choices that they’ve made and try to figure out what exactly is supposed to come next.
May 27: Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
Based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, Ruhl’s play follows Eurydice’s descent into the underworld where she finds her father. It’s a poetic fantasy about people discovering ways to create warmth and comfort together despite their cold and inhospitable surroundings.
June 24: She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen
After Agnes’ family dies in a tragic car accident, she stumbles across her little sister’s Dungeons and Dragons notebook. When she starts playing the game, it transports her to a different world… where she finally gets the chance to understand her sister. Filled with 90’s pop references and nerd culture at its peak, it’s quirky, sweet, and delights in celebrating play.
July 22: Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker
Five disparate people in a small Vermont town come together for a six-week acting class where their characters are revealed and shaped by miniature triumphs and tragedies. Annie Baker specializes in writing intimate plays that feel authentic.
Toby Tieger has directed, acted in, and written plays over the last 10 years, and sees theater as often as he can. He is a building supervisor with the Ann Arbor District Library.
The AADL Pub Reading Series presented by Pulp in partnership with PencilPoint TheatreWorks is at Conor O'Neill's, 318 S Main St, Ann Arbor, every fourth Sunday from April to July at 7 pm. The events are free and open to all 21 and older.