Last Sunday I had the opportunity to present Cold Reads to members of the Metrolina Theater Association. We broke the ice by pairing up to read and ramble on 10-minute plays, then shared thoughts as a group. I talked for a while about how a cold read happens, referring to this web site; then we brainstormed on the reasons people do (and don’t) read plays. To wrap it up, the whole group started reading a full-length play we knew we wouldn’t finish.
A full account, including a transcript of my discourse, is posted on the Cold Reads blog.
On the up side, those attending—all working actors who, except for first rehearsal table work, could not recall the last time (if ever) they read a play for fun—all enjoyed themselves immensely, left promising to read with friends, and all have since joined Cold Reads/Charlotte.
The down side is that “all” was only six, including the MTA president and the owner of the venue. Hundreds were invited. What am I up against?
Here’s my post mortem argument.
I’ve been reading plays on average at least once a week for well over a decade, with anyone who showed up, practicing and preaching my true faith that reading plays aloud with friends can save the world, expecting it to spread like wildfire. It hasn’t.
Case in point: Hundreds were invited to Sunday’s event; only four attended.
People who know me think I’m a crackpot. Is this the Impossible Dream?
On the bright side, their positive reaction has prompted me to jump back on my horse.
For those of you who couldn’t make it, a full account, including a transcript of my Ted Talk, is posted on the Cold Reads blog.
So why don’t people read plays?
Why don’t you?
Do yourself (and me) a favor.
One day soon, on the spur of the moment, collar a friend or two, open a 10-minute play on your smartphones, and read. You can do it anywhere, at any time, with anyone who reads. I’ve posted two of mine on the Cold Reads blog; or Google “10-minute-plays” and pick one at random.
Take time as you read to react, share thoughts, engage in conversation. Part of the game is balancing dialog with interjections. Ideally, a 10-minute play is a 20-minute game.
And please, when you’ve finished, let me know how it went.
Was it fun? Did it trigger conversation? What did your friend think? Will you recommend it to others? Will you do it again?
I’d like to think you will, and frequently, again and again, with all your friends, who (I’d like to think) who will do same with other friends—and that you’ll all post feedback on my websites. The more readers posting reports of 10-minute plays, the more likely others will take notice and follow suit. As time goes by, you’ll all move on to full-length plays in groups (like book clubs) that interact on line with other groups world-wide, to make cold reading an international pastime. Readers of the World Unite!
So I’m a crackpot. I imagine people reading plays as often as they go to Sunday school (or play golf).
Everything you need to know about Cold Reads (and too much more) appears on the blog. When you download my scripts, take some time to browse.
My problem is, so far, I’m all but all alone in my crusade, and I’m old; my mind slips; I’m losing my will. I really need people who’ll pick up where I leave off and make it happen. Drop me a line if you’d like to talk, or give me a buzz at (704) 661-7585.
There are even ways to make it pay.
If the concept captures your imagination, post a comment.
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”
Don’t let the squirrels eat you up.