|A reading at the Conservatory Seattle.|
Photo: Seattle Playwrights Salon
Each month, they present a new work and audiences get free entertainment with their caffeinated beverages, wine, cider, or beer. Next up is “Not Around Gordie” by Jorj Savage, a tale of 1960s southern California. Playwright George Savage Jr. (Jorj) collaborated on the script of "Not Around Gordie" with his father 50 years ago. Now he's presenting it with a number of theater veterans including Bruce McLean (listed as Director and Hummer), Michael Cossette, Alisa Murray, Laurel Clark, Dan Niven, William M. Phillips, Angelina Riley and James Riley.
Danley and O’Donnell answered a few questions about their salon via email in December.
The Conservatory Seattle is a gorgeous space. What does it mean to have something like this available for testing out new works?
Between the historic exposed-brick walls and the golden glow of the Edison footlights, stepping into The Conservatory is like stepping back in time to an 1890s arts salon. Being surrounded by such beauty makes a huge difference to playwrights, actors, and directors. Everyone stands a little taller and takes a little more pride in what they are doing. But even more than the lovely space is the generosity of the owners who meet every request with an enthusiastic, "We would be happy to help!" The Conservatory Seattle's mission is to be a home for artists. It is a rare gift and we are honored to represent the literary portion of their offerings. The opportunity to play in such an incredible space with such incredible people invites all of our artists to bring their best.
How would you describe the type of plays submitted to the Seattle Playwrights Salon?
We strive to present playwrights from all walks of life. We have twelve slots a year and present a new show every second Friday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. Playwrights are welcome to fill that time in whatever way serves them best, be it an evening of short ten-minute plays, several one acts, or a full-length production. We’re booked through May 2017, but the need for developmental opportunities in Seattle is great and we have enough submissions to easily program into 2018. We’ve got a 1960s- era folk tale set in Santa Monica, California in February; a modern day farce in March; in April, the story of a small town set on edge when a policeman shoots and kills a teen; and in May, a bluegrass-inflected story set in the coalfields in 1930s West Virginia.
What's one of the toughest things to do in a staged reading setting?
We ask our artists to make the script in hand as unobtrusive as possible. That means actors and directors have to find the time to rehearse and explore the play. They amaze us with the high quality of their performances and their dedication to their craft.
What is the appeal for the audience?
The Salon series appeals to many people who are not regular theatre-goers. The price is free and anyone can wander in, take a seat, and participate in the conversation. Our goal is to make our audiences feel welcome and an integral part of the vibrant, new art that is being created. Helping to shape a new show in the cozy, casual atmosphere of The Conservatory with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in hand is an enlivening experience and we regularly pack the house with 50-plus people.
“Not Around Gordie” will be available on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Conservatory, 5813 Airport Way South, Seattle. Admission is free. For more information on the Seattle Playwrights Salon, see their website.