I fulfilled a long-held aspiration tonight, to attend a reading at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, where they have a monthly theatrical reading from their Playwright’s Lab group. The event description is here from tonight. It seems silly that I had not been to an earlier reading. Tonight’s incarnation was particularly appealing where it was written by a past “boss”/work supervisor and featured several theatrical friends. Many theatrical friends/acquaintances from this area were in the audience.
Milagro (Show #16) took a multi-layered look at contemporary relationships in an offbeat setting. I enjoyed the staged reading format, where the setting and surroundings were left up to my imagination. The story centered around three couples (two gay – of opposite genders, and one straight) and how they all converged at a rustic resort in Mexico. It seemed that the play was rooted in the contemporary Bay Area, with plot threads about HIV testing, multiculturalism, and cross country relationships. The convergence was effectively drawn together in the second act after dropping hints about it in the first act. I also appreciated how one character’s motives were turned on their head following a surprise switch-revelation in the middle of the first act. I enjoyed seeing local actor Dan Hoyle, who has become well known for his solo work at The Marsh in San Francisco, shine in two contrasting supporting roles – he was not initially advertised as part of the reading cast. My past show colleagues Danielle Thys and Julia McNeal showed a thoughtful chemistry as the lesbian couple. They were capably supported by the other actors, with Marin local Jack Powell holding down a central role as the resort owner.
I did notice how the many story threads seemed to tie back together in a rush, which may be a common problem in a longer narrative. It will be interesting to observe how this play develops in the future, as this was not a finalized version. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for the post-show talkback, where Brad and the actors welcomed questions or discussion about the piece. I am sure that various advice was likely (hopefully!) noted with an open mind.