Monday, July 18, 2011

African American Friendships Explored in VERBAL ACUMEN

Staged reading of a new play by Olivia Dawson and Ray Proctor at the MGAC at the end of this week.

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Staged readings work remarkably well with scripts that peel-back all of the elements of production and exist primarily on a raw, emotional level. Written by Olivia Dawson and Ray Proctor, Verbal Acumen sounds like it fits the bill remarkably well. Negotiating the tricky terrain of race, pretense and friendship. In a rather tightly-written press release, the drama bills itself as being about quite a few things. At the center of it all, “it’s just a play about two people who learn to love each other, in spite of themselves.” Perfect for a staged reading in a small space.

The playwrights currently live together as roommates in Chicago. The two met about seven years ago in a Next Act Theatre production of Between Men and Cattle. Directed by Sherri Williams-Pannel, the staged reading of Verbal Acumen features Ray Proctor, Olivia Dawson, Bear Bellinger and Penelope Walker.

The reading of the play takes place July 21st and 22nd at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center on 703 South 2nd Street. Discussions follow each reading, both of which start at 7:30pm. Suggested donation is $10 for general admission and $8 for students. For more information, call 414-383-3727.  

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