Our sixth annual Script-in-Hand series launches this Sunday with a free performance and a brand-new look. Produced by Kansas City's Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, "Women of the Years" features six plays with insights into the lives of women, young and old.
One of the knocks against Hollywood is that as soon as an actress (Meryl Streep excepted) reaches an age where she has enough life and performing experience to really deliver the goods, she's considered too old to star in a movie.
The theater, though, loves its actresses. On the stage, getting older means getting better.
To see that you need only check the titles featured in the Library’s 2012 Script-in-Hand series, a program of free readers'-theater-style performances featuring local professional actors and directors.
Women of the Years is the topic this time around, and the six plays selected by the Metropolitan Theatre Ensemble’s Karen Paisley provide not only endless insights into the lives of women but terrific roles for actresses of all ages.
Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, for example, is a mid-70s hit that through poetry reveals the inner lives of 20 African American women – the joys, the pain, the triumphs and defeats.
Jon Jory’s Anne of Green Gables is an adaptation of the classic tale of an orphaned girl who come of age on the farm of an aging brother and sister. Bring Kleenex.
In Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women a dying woman encounters three younger versions of herself.
The series even features the musical My Fair Lady in which a Victorian flower girl is transformed into a lady, thanks to the efforts of a domineering voice coach.
This is what I call a well-rounded series.
All readings are at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Here’s the full lineup:
Three Tall Women: January 22, Central Library. (RSVP now)
Master Class: February 26, Central Library.
The Sisters Rosenweig: March 25, Central Library.
For Colored Girls … : April 22, Bluford Branch.
My Fair Lady: May 13, Plaza Branch.
Anne of Green Gables: June 10, Plaza Branch.
A reception sponsored by the Friends of the Library will follow each performance. The Friends invite all who attended to enjoy refreshments and meet the actors.
Funding for the 2012 Script-in-Hand series is provided by a grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation - Commerce Bank, Trustee, with additional support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The series is co-sponsored by the UMKC Women's Center, with hopes that other Kansas City women's groups will join in. At each performance, the Women's Center and other co-sponsors may set up tables and distribute literature, creating a marketplace of ideas around Script-in-Hand.
For sponsorship information, contact the Library's Public Affairs department at 816.701.3704.
About the Author
Robert W. Butler is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com. He's married to the former Ellen Vaughan; they are the proud parents of LA-based comedian, writer, director and TV personality Blair Butler. He used to be a dog person but now lives with two cats, thus demonstrating the flexibility of the human condition.