SPRINGVILLE—For the past six weeks, local actors of all skill levels came out to Springville Center for the Arts to sharpen their skills as performers during SCA’s Actor’s Workshop and Play Study.
Led by local director Edwin Heary, the Actor’s Workshop started Jan. 23 and included a number of activities meant for the actor’s to understand their upcoming performance of “August: Osage County.” The Actor’s Workshop included everything from breakdowns of characters, a case study of the setting, guest speakers and practicing their scripts with the other actors.
“I think it really got people engaged,” Heary said. “One of the beauties of what we are doing in this workshop is that we are breaking it down into the tiny little elements that when you have the time pressure of preparing for a performance, we can’t just get down into the minute things like we are doing in this workshop and I think people are enjoying that.”
Rather than a normal play, the upcoming performance of “August: Osage County” will be a staged reading, which will have the performers reading from scripts while either sitting or standing with no sets, full costumes and minimal stage movement. Heary said the main focus is on the actors and how they are able to portray their characters through their voice in order to have the audience picture the performance in their own way.
“I can imagine the people in the audience … close their eyes and listen because it is more about what they are hearing rather than seeing,” Heary said. “I don’t know if we have done readers theater like this before in front of an audience … so I’m excited to see how it goes.”
“August: Osage County” is a comedy-drama play written by Tracy Letts set in the house of the Weston family in Pawhuska, Okla. The story follows the family being brought together after the disappearance of their patriarch, Beverly Weston. The diverse personalities among the characters in this performance creates a challenge for the actors to work through, while also providing a great experience for the audience.
“[The play] is a vehicle for character development as an actors workshop because the characters are just really juicy … everybody is very distinct,” Heary said.
Throughout the process of the actor’s workshop, Heary and the many actors participating said they have really enjoyed the process and enjoyed preparing for their performance in a different and more in-depth way.
“In a workshop, you really start to dig into who the other characters are, which affects how you talk to them,” actor Rick Manzone said. “You become not just an actor playing a role, but you become an actor playing a person interacting with other people and that gives it a whole other dimension … it lets you become a much stronger actor.”
After seeing the progress and success of this actor’s workshop, Heary said he plans to continue doing the program and finding more ways to incorporate some of this workshop style when directing full play performances at SCA.
The staged reading of “August: Osage County” will be Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Carol Mongerson Theater, 37 N. Buffalo St. in Springville. The performance will be free to the public.
For more information on SCA or upcoming actor’s workshops, visit springvillearts.org.