I went to see a staged reading tonight. What is that exactly? You ask. It's the performance of a play without any stage design, props, extras, music etc. This particular reading had just three people on stage; two actors reading from a script and the seated director who read out the stage directions.
The play was Espresso by Lucia Frangione at Theatre Best/Before. It was a little confusing at first and one had to pay close attention because each of the two actors had to speak the parts of several characters and sometimes even switched between characters. Once I got the hang of it I was no longer confused and the actors began to win me over.
The story is about a thirty year old Italian/English Canadian girl who rushes back home after her father is seriously hurt in a car accident. The characterizations of Italian Canadian culture were spot on and very funny at times. Domenic Calla who played most of the Male voices through the avatar character of Amante was most charming when he spoke in the exaggerated voices of the various Italian family members. Laura Duralija started slowly but came into her own as the tension increased and more emotion was required of her.
Other than the occasional David Mamet play I haven't been to see much theatre mainly because I really don't like all of the excessive production of most of the popular plays. The focus on the text of a play without the distraction of over production is an interesting approach to theatre and I will probably go to other staged readings in the future.