New voices

Pirus (John Kreutzberger) and Athena (Cynthia Burdick) in Kevin DiPirro’s <i>An Ache in the Engine</i>.

Pirus (John Kreutzberger) and Athena (Cynthia Burdick) in Kevin DiPirro’s An Ache in the Engine.

Beyond the Proscenium Productions—the loveably offbeat group that scored a breakthrough with the first local production of Angels in America a few years back—presents two evenings featuring staged readings of new plays culled from a competition that attracted dozens of entries from around the state. It’s rather like watching ambitious inventors demonstrating their experimental aircraft—there’s an element of risk involved, and you want to keep your eye on the potential of the new scripts and their concepts, because these are still works-in-progress.

The first program will be 8 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. (Dinner available at 7 p.m.) Featured will be the intriguingly titled Heart of a Freak by La Jolla writer Greg Cummings and Two Men and a Plane by L.A. writer Richard Stampolis.

The second program will be 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Himovitz Gallery, 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, and will feature An Ache in the Engine by San Francisco writer Kevin DiPirro and The Painter’s Wife by Susan Kelejian of Ojai.

Both evenings will feature past Elly Award winners and nominees, representing the more adventuresome segment of the local theater community. Tickets are a bargain at $3. For information, call (916) 922-9774.