Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Play reading is a crown jewel

nexStage to present reading of one of three McDonagh works

Express Staff Writer

Claudia McCain will read the role of Mag Folan in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. Photo by David N. Seelig

Call it a black comedy, a melodrama, a horror story or a bleak tragedy, "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," is a gripping play with many surprises.

"I think it's one of the best plays we've ever done as a reading," said director Jonathan Kane.

The nexStage Theatre in Ketchum will present a play reading of "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" by Irish playwright, filmmaker and screenwriter Martin McDonagh on Tuesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. The reading is free with complimentary wine and cookies and has a running time of an hour.

"This is the third Martin McDonagh play we've done," Kane said. "This one has a more serious tone."

The reading cast will include Claudia McCain, Charlotte Hemmings, Ben Flandro and Will Hemmings. The story is set in an Irish village in the early 1990s. It is one of a three-play trilogy. "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" opened in Galway in 1996. It received a Tony Award for Best Play nomination.

"He wrote all three plays in one summer," Kane said. "All three take place in the same town and all the plays reference each other."

Kane said McDonagh writes a violent and dark story that includes dark humor.

"It's taken to an extreme," he said. "Everyone murders each other. Also, it's a hard play to do because of the Irish accent, but we have actors who can do it."

The nexStage Theatre play readings have grown in popularity and remain one of the best entertainment options around because not only are they free, but they present modern works by many living accomplished playwrights.

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