Readers’ theater at Michelangelo’s

Michaelangelo’s Italian Art Restaurant is at 1725 I St.; for dinner reservations call 446-5012. For further information, call the STC box office at 443-6722.
The Sacramento Theatre Company will present readings of new plays by well-regarded writers on three upcoming Mondays, to be held at Michelangelo’s Italian Arts Restaurant in Sacramento.

On July 29: Section Eight by Tony Winters, the story of a 50-ish African-American man who learns that his son—whom he hasn’t seen in over a decade—will be moving into his apartment. Winters, who lives in Los Angeles, has appeared as an actor on such TV series as ER and Seinfeld. His screenplay Retiring Tatiana was an award-winner at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival in 2000, and has since enjoyed home video, TV and foreign distribution.

On August 5: Madagascar by Francis X. McCarthy, a poet, screenwriter and playwright who lives in El Dorado Hills. McCarthy has written for numerous film and TV companies; this new play had its first staged reading at Yale last April. The play is about a “straying Episcopal priest” who experiences “a life-changing encounter.”

On August 12: The Ideal and the Life by Velina Hasu Houston, a close associate of STC artistic director Peggy Shannon. You may remember STC’s previous productions of Houston’s dramas Kokoro and Shedding the Tiger; Shannon also workshopped Houston’s script Waiting for Tadashi at UC Davis, and STC will stage Houston’s best-known play, Tea, during the upcoming season. The Ideal and the Life involves a 68-year-old woman whose unmarried daughter—a stockbroker—decides she can no longer come home for the holidays. The mother’s loneliness is shaken up by an unexpected dramatic event, leading the mother to a new understanding of who she is.

These sorts of readings are typically an opportunity for a director to "test drive" a new script that is under consideration for a full-scale production; very often the playwright will revise a few scenes or even try out a different ending after hearing the play read. It can be an interesting view into the creative development of a work in progress. There will be a $5 cover charge for each of the readings; reservations are recommended, and those in attendance will be free to order dinner or drinks.