Like live theater? Seth Jarvis has got a "play group" for you! The Burlington actor and playwright hasn't been sitting on his thumbs since his former employer, the late, great Waterfront Video, closed in May. (That's Jarvis, left, with Chris LaPointe at the store.) He's gotten married, for one thing. And for another, he's cooked up a monthly theater event called Playmakers.
Consisting of a directed reading and up to three "cold readings by local writers," Playmakers launches at 7:30 tonight, November 4 — "by the nature of bookings it will always be on a Monday," Jarvis says — at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts in Burlington.
"I'm hoping once we begin, people will come forward and join in," he says. And by people he means "new playwrights, and actors and directors who've wanted to try their hand at writing."
Jarvis, who also will be hosting Thursday night at this week's Third Annual Burlington Fringe Festival at the Off Center, notes that there are time limits onstage at Playmakers: less than 20 pages, or no more than 25 minutes in length. That pretty much means one-acts or excerpts can be read.
Jarvis says "there is always interesting original work going on," and he should know: He's written and/or performed in quite a bit of it. He cites an upcoming Saints & Poets musical titled O, Caligula, written by Kevin Christopner (book) and Patricia Julien (music), as an example.
Since tonight is Playmakers' debut, there will be no directed reading, but four cold ones instead, by Aaron Masi, Geeda Searforce, Steve Goldberg and Jarvis himself.
At cold readings in the future, he says, the idea is to have a couple of theater artists watch and "choose one that for whatever reason they feel the strongest about, and over the next month, they'll rehearse and develop it." This will be done without the playwright's involvement, he clarifies, "to see how someone else interprets it." Actors Chris Caswell and Jordan Gullikson will be the first pair of watchers.
The public can watch, too — for a suggested donation of $3-5. Playmakers' monthly events provide an opportunity to see theater at its rawest unfold, get feedback from other artists, and perhaps be developed into a fuller production.
Jarvis thinks the opportunity for playwrights, experienced or emerging, is a valuable one. "It will allow theater artists to practice their craft," he says.
And you know what they say about practice.
File photo by Matthew Thorsen.