The Reading Theatre Project is a theatre that presents new and creative theatre in Reading, Pennsylvania. I have had the privilege to see a couple of their shows, and each one is inventive, and full of passionate and creative people. Their latest show, which opened the end of May, One Body, was no exception to this. This show, under the direction of Vicki Graff was unique, poignant and creative.
One Body is a show of individual skits that are a response to the charcoal drawings by local artist Pamela Shields. The drawings by Shields are “large-scale charcoal drawings of ‘monumental, weighty figures, complete with cellulite and folds of fat, which confront and question what is considered ‘acceptable’ and ‘normal.’” During the show, each performer connected with an aspect of Shields’ drawings to explore topics such as acceptance of one’s body to spousal abuse. The show was real, raw, and spirited.
Every scene performed in One Body, has some truth, some humor and some philosophy. During the show, a quote by Shields appeared on a screen onstage, “Freedom happens one body at a time.” This one quote seemed to inspire each performance during the show, from the dancing and monologues to the Avant-garde jazz music. One of the highlights of the show was Amy Shea’s performance in the skit titled, “The Model.” This was probably my favorite of the show because it was sincere. This scene was about a model who poses for art students, and how the model thinks these students just see her as an object. Another skit that I thought was very real was the skit entitled, “The Vanishing Man.” In this scene, Joel Gori, portrays an older man who is embarrassed to see and consciously blind to the way his body looks as he is getting older. In addition, to round out a few of the highlights of the show are two skits that I felt were very genuine: “My Voice” and “The Butcher.” Both these skits were heartbreaking as they both addressed finding empowerment.
One Body only ran one weekend in Reading, but they have announced their next show: Speakeasy. This show will be at the Fred Astaire Ballroom in Reading on August 28 and 30, 2014 and September 5-7, 2014. If you have not had a chance to see the innovative shows by the Reading Theatre Project, this will be a great show to see. For more information about the Reading Theatre Project, visit their website at www.readingtheaterproject.com.
Photo Credit: Re!gn Photography
Final Thought: Reading Theatre Project provides Berks County with a thought provoking and creative theatre experience. Their shows are innovative and full of their passion for creativity and the Arts.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.