The Our Town Theatre Group (OTTG) in North Creek has started a new outreach program to continue their focus to provide live performance to people around the Adirondack Park and beyond. Known as The Penny Readers, the group has chosen classic short stories for its upcoming staged reading June 11, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Chestertown Town Hall. With the exception of a chapter from the Roald Dahl children story, “The BFG,” all stories will be read in full.
The Big Friendly Giant, for those unfamiliar, is about the only friendly giant that spends most of his time collecting and spreading good dreams to children. The orphan child Sophie discovers him and an unlikely friendship unfolds. The other classic short stories cover a range of topics from materialism to acceptance.
For those familiar with regular OTTG performers, stage veterans Wendy Joy-Hayes will read from “The BFG” by Roald Dahl,; Bob Foley will read “How I Edited An Agricultural Newspaper” by Mark Twain; Jim Kries will read “A Pair Of Silk Stockings” by Kate Chopin; Brenda Foley will read “The Open Window” by H.H. Munro; Dennis Wilson will read “If I Were A Man” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman while Brenda White and Maryellen Dowling may do readings as well.
According to Director Dennis Wilson, the target age for this reading is middle-school-aged children through adult. Most of the chosen material is from many English Literature required reading lists so each parent can make his/her own assessment.
“The Reader’s Theatre performance is free of charge though we do accept donations,” says Wilson. “We want to make theatre accessible to all. The Our Town Theatre Group home base is in North Creek but we do travel.”
“ We will have three shows, June 11, July 30 and August 20, in Chestertown this summer thanks to the North Country Arts Center. We will also be at the Lake Pleasant Library on June 30. We are tentatively scheduled to perform Halloween appropriate stories at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in the fall. People can check the website for a schedule.”
The idea for The Penny Theatre Reader’s Theatre came about a year ago when several OTTG players wanted to provide performances to a wider audience. For the past fifteen years, OTTG has been performing two main stage plays each year. Wilson wants people to know that this OTTG Outreach Program is not limited to the stage but will perform for dinner parties or birthday parties.
According to Wilson their goal is to read a lot of good and meaningful stories for the purpose of entertaining the audience. Without set or costume, one person takes on the personas of the different characters in the stories. Each story is about 12-15 minutes long.
Wilson says, “ Several of us wanted to perform something theatrical when we didn’t have a main stage show going on. We developed the Reader’s Theatre to present essays, books and plays. The show that we have developed so far is classic stories; some tragic, some funny.