Margie Castleman’s Squirrel and Dwight E. Watson’s The Blacksmith’s Book are the first to launch the series
Howl Playwrights is a theater group dedicated to nurturing and empowering the development of new works by emerging playwrights. The play development group meets once a week in Rhinebeck, NY. This group, facilitated and supervised by David Simpatico and Darrah Cloud, originated in 2013 at Half Moon Theatre and now independently stands as a play development group dedicated to cultivating new works.
On Thursday, February 7, 2020, HOWL launched a new free public reading series, First Thursdays, with Margie Castleman‘s hilarious and high-spirited new play, Squirrel. This play centers around Judy, Hank and, yes, a flying squirrel named Francine. Read by Anne Undeland (Judy) Thom Whaley (Hank) and Martina Deignan (stage directions), Squirrel explores a fierce flying-squirrel chase mirroring the couples’ own pursuit of happiness and the desperate search for a deeper (re?)connection. Judy and Hank face a bevy of late night challenges: a flailing second marriage, a forgotten anniversary, a freezing night of no heat, an uninvited squirrel, and a gun-toting home invader. As the couple faces the reality that they have grown apart, they band together as a team to chase and catch Francine, which ultimately helps them realize what, if anything, is left to fight for in their marriage.
Next up in the First Thursdays series is Dwight E. Watson’s The Blacksmith’s Book. This memory play is centered around a blacksmith’s toolbox that is found at an auction. A pocket dictionary, discovered beneath the tools in the box, activates a memory of Calvin, a blacksmith, and Robert, his son, a social activist during the Jim Crow era of WWII. As Robert seeks to expose the racist evil of the local Ku Klux Klan, the blacksmith and his son are accused of “doing the devil’s work.” A chance meeting between the “devil” and Robert leads to surprising results.
You can catch a free public reading of The Blacksmith’s Book on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:00pm. It features William Biersack, Ella Cattabiani, Darrah Cloud, Martina Deignan, Alexander Florez, Stephen Jones, Anthony Kimball, Lisa Kimball, James Occhino, James Phillips, Mary Phillips, Felicia Santiago and Jamie Watson.
Each public reading of a new play will take place at 7:00pm on the first Thursday of each month (with a hiatus in the summer). Mark your calendars for the upcoming free readings:
Mina’s Dream by Anne Undeland (April 2, 2020)
Short Plays by Alexandra Angeloch (May 7, 2020)
Tough Love by Louisa Vilardi (June 4, 2020)
There is no admittance fee, but donations are warmly accepted. All readings take place at The Liberty Public House (downstairs), 6417 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. It is recommended that you arrive early for choice seating and to order a cocktail to enjoy during the show. Find out more about Howl Playwrights here: ahowlofplaywrights.org