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Westport Country Playhouse Stages Bare Bones Theater At Bare Bones Price

Annie Keefe, curator of Westport Country Playhouse's Script In Hand series, speaks to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.
Annie Keefe, curator of Westport Country Playhouse's Script In Hand series, speaks to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. — Annie Keefe, curator of Westport Country Playhouse's Script In Hand series,  highlighted this season’s three offerings for Y’s Men of Westport and Weston last week.

Keefe called the series “theater light — no production values, no costumes, no scenery, no special lighting effects, no sound, no properties.” Just “good stories read by wonderful actors.”

These bare bones script readings originated when Academy Award-winning actress Joanne Woodward became artistic director at the playhouse. Woodward said she "heard things better than she read them.”

Keefe, assistant artistic director at the playhouse, said groups of actor friends would gather at her house and just read a script so Woodward could see if it was something she could stage.

About 10 years ago, they moved to the Playhouse and opened the doors to the public for a minimal fee of $20.

"Almost like going to the movies, but it’s live theater in your community” Keefe said.

This season’s first script, "A Supporting Cast," by George Furth, will be read on Feb. 6. What happens when a woman writes a book about her friends, wives who are the main support of their famous spouses, then brings them together to show them the book? A lot of bad feelings.

"But it’s very, very funny, and something we can use in the depth of winter in this current strange climate,” Keefe said.

In March, “a great cast” will read "Lobby Hero" by Kenneth Lonergran. He also is the author of "Manchester by the Sea," which just received an Oscar nomination for best picture and for best screenplay, along with a few acting nods. Most of his works create a feel similar to "Manchester by the Sea" — but not this one.

It is a "comedy, drama, romance,” about a lobby security guard who gets involved with a cop who may be on the take, or may not be, and his boss, whose brother may have murdered somebody, or may not have. It sounds a bit “grim, but it does have lots of humor," Keefe said.

The last is a Jean Kerr play. “She’s a wonderful, funny woman whose play 'Lunch Hour' is about a man and a woman who learn that their spouses are having an affair, and take matters into their hands.

Keefe closed by asking everyone to tell their wives that the Playhouse is holding an event to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.

"A group of community and theater women will read essays by some the most important women’s voices” — a great evening for women, and for girls 15 and older. And it’s free.

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