Who Are We?
Theoretically, we’re a loose association of people from all walks of life who come together in small groups to read plays. The time will come when this page will list officer and members of a board and staff, with links to pages listing thousands of readers and affiliated groups (see Role Call).
For now there’s only me, George Gray, a semi-retired old Jack of All (Theatrical) Trades, a crackpot who believes the world would be a better place if more people spent more time reading plays with friends.
Should this notion catch on, spread its wing and fly, more than me are needed. I don’t have the skills or resources—nor the time (I’m seventy-seven), nor mind (it’s slipping), nor stomach (lost to cancer two years ago)—to manage a million readers (don’t laugh). One by one you’ll climb on board until this free weblog won’t hold all the data and some benevolent organization will fund salaries for a staff.
Copy Editor/Graphic Artist/Webmaster/Marketing Whiz
All the arguments for cold reads are here in the blog, along with all the ways to do it and the framework for a world-wide network, but it needs a lot of pruning, rearranging, eye appeal, and a plan to overcome the stigma our culture places on dramatic art.
Besides demonstrated skills and abilities, I need someone (or more) who understands the cold reads movement and appreciates its intrinsic value.
Apply with sample page to email@example.com. Pro bono preferred; otherwise quote rates, bearing in mind that I’m living on Social Security and home equity.
CR/I may organize itself, find movers and shakers who incorporate and manage the growing constituency. More likely (in time) cold reading will be incorporated under the umbrella of larger institution.
Any benevolent foundation or government agency with an understanding and appreciation of cold reading is welcome to take control at any time—hopefully before a greedy corporation finds a way to make it pay. If just one major university realizes its revolutionary educational potential and features it, with fanfare, in it core curriculum—who knows? Suppose it catches on, spreads down through the grades, taught along with other language arts, or music, painting, dance. Maybe if one public school makes regular cold reading mandatory and grades escalate—who knows? So it spreads up.
Groups & Individuals
Essential to success are readers who Join Up, as individuals or groups, and interact with others, spread the word.
Okay, nobody wants to be first.
Take a leap of faith.
I grew up in my father’s Little Theatre of Gastonia, NC, where I seem to have wound up. In between, I studied theatre at Chapel Hill, married Sandra Melvin, soldiered in Germany, expatriated in Paris, studied more in Kansas and Texas, and fathered two children, then acted, directed, designed, wrote plays, and/or taught in professional, academic, and community theatres nationwide until the Reagan recession of ’83, when (in mid-life crisis) I copped out, took a white-collar job, and bought a house in Charlotte.
Moonlighting from the start, on camera (with JTA) or on stage, directing, mostly with the Children’s Theatre and the Golden Circle, I led a double life for seven years, then quit the day job to freelance as an independent contractor. In ’95, Sandra and I founded Stage One, Inc, “A Non-Profit Umbrella for Independent Theatre,” under which we presented twenty-eight productions in less than a decade—including ten of our own. My next (and last) full-time (with benefits) employment started at the millennium’s end, three years as Tech Director for Theatre Charlotte. All my credits are posted in my career blog, George Gray for Hire.
Since then (2002) I’ve been “taking calls, not beating bushes”—and nobody calls. I last directed Little Murders, for Barebones, in 2003; my last four roles were bucket plums: Beverly in August: Osage County and Gottschall in God’s Man in Texas, in 2011; Robert in Proof and Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street (2013). But by then I’d been reading plays with random others almost every week for five years, the notion growing that dramatic art was a cultural need, and decided it was time to spread the word. (I don’t have much time left.) Since then, my degenerating brain has been obsessively devoted to developing the Cold Reads presentation published on this site.
These days I can almost always be found at home with Sandra (more than fifty years), and our children, lighting wizard Hallie and musical genius Peter, in the front room, at my great-grandfather’s roll-top desk, reaching out to the world. Much of who I am and what I think regarding theatre and drama is apparent on this site. Anyone who cares to know the rest of me is welcome to peruse my jumbled memoirs on Shades of George.