Santa Maria Civic Theatre (SMCT) will present a free staged reading of an original play by Hawaii playwright Wil Welsh at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. He calls his new play, “The Panama,” a fast-moving, two-act drama. Slightly different than a table reading, a staged reading involves limited movement by the actors who carry their scripts in hand. Actors do not memorize their lines, and stage business is kept to a minimum.
The cast includes Jim Dahmen, Maureen Staunton, Craig Scott, Nick Sheley and Roxanne Ventriglia. Linda Scott is assistant director and stage manager.
“The Panama” is about a retired couple who move to a beachfront condominium, leaving behind their big family home and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Ted worries about money — whether they’ll have enough, what deals he can make to support their lifestyle — while Jean will miss the grown kids, the family home. Acquaintances from their past lives show up: Frank, a brusk man with big moneymaking ideas who has brought Ted in on some of them in the past, and Claire, his compliant trophy wife. They’ve lost their home in the economic downturn because of Frank’s dealings. Now, they’re trying to rebuild. The play is about greed and financial ignorance.
“What happens in ‘The Panama’ reflects in a small way the economy in recent years,” said Welsh.
Welsh is from the island of Kauai, Hawaii, but he and his wife Jo Grande, originally from Orcutt, spend summers in Santa Maria and have been involved in past SMCT events. Welsh wrote and directed the musical melodrama “Sugar! Oh, Sugar!” premiered by SMCT in 2009.
On Kauai, where Welsh is president of the Kauai Community Players, eight of his plays have been produced. Last summer he played the gun-toting sheriff in SMCT’s “Dearly Beloved.” This staged reading will be the first public exposure for “The Panama.”
“I want to find out how an audience will react, what works and doesn’t work on stage,” Welsh said.
The audience is invited to ask questions and make comments at the end of the play. There will be an intermission between acts.
The one-time performance is free and open to the public, although anyone who wishes can make a donation to SMCT in support of live theater.
The Santa Maria Civic Theatre is at 1660 N. McClelland St., off Donovan Road in Santa Maria.
SMCT’s regular season play, “Christmas Belles,” a comedy directed by John Shade, which is now in rehearsal, opens Nov. 22 for a four-weekend run.
For more information, call Wil at 808-652-8178, or visit www.smct.org.