By JON KAPLAN
In many cases, SummerWorks is about development. A number of mainstage shows get their first audiences here, with playwrights discovering what works and what doesn't in their scripts.
There's another level to the workshop process, the SummerWorks reading series. The workshop series began yesterday, but you still have four days to catch new pieces by established artists and also some first-timers. The mentoring aspect of these readings is an important part of the process, as experienced directors and actors -- many of them involved in other SummerWorks productions -- work with newer artists.
Take Diana Tso's Nanking, for example, which runs in the Factory Theatre rehearsal hall Thursday (August 9) at 3 pm. I've seen Diana as a performer, but don't know her work as a writer.
Involving three generations of a Chinese family, Nanking focuses on the love between the granddaughter and a Japanese Nisei, a relationship that causes problems for her grandfather.
Among the performers are Ella Chan, Henry Chan, Stephanie Jung (who's in Yogyakarta), Jane Luk and David Yee (author of and performer in Paper Series). It's directed by Nina Lee Aquino, who also helmed Paper Series.
Playwrights in the reading series include Paula Rivera, Sang Kim and Lindsey Connell. There's also a youth reading series -- SummerWorks has been pro-active in giving young theatre artists a voice, both on the mainstage and in this kind of developmental process -- with writers Justine Robles, Bianca Schmutz, Romina Valdivia, the On a Wire group, Julia Lederer and Thomas Bryce.
Among those involved as directors are Beatriz Pizano, Geoffrey Pounsett, Andrea Donaldson and Stewart Arnott. On the roster of performers are Lucy Rupert, Herbie Barnes, Darryl Dennis, Grace Lynn Kung, Dale Yim, Aviva Armour-Ostroff, Lauren Brotman, Raven Dauda, Kimwun Perehinec, Dalal Badr, Edwige Jean-Pierre, Athena Lamarre, Thom Allison, Araxi Arslanian and Marjorie Chan.
A pretty impressive list, that, for any theatre event.
For more information on the shows, check out www.summerworks.ca.
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