This weekend and next the Island Theatre Workshop is presenting its annual Pick of the Crop play series. As its name declares ITW is a community theatre group of and for the Island. All of its playwrights, directors and actors are amateurs. By this we mean not paid, rather than unskilled or inexperienced. Most players have appeared in numerous Island productions throughout the years and are familiar presences on stage.
For the Pick of the Crop festival, ITW grows its own material throughout the year. Each month budding playwrights meet to workshop their works-in-progress. Actors come to read the pieces aloud, putting them on their feet and giving voice to the characters. Then it’s back to the lonely room, a writer’s true creative chamber, to add, delete and reconstruct.
Finally, the ITW Board members read through the full crop of plays harvested at the end of the year. The plays selected are either one acts, or parts of longer works, nothing more than 40 minutes in length. The result is an evening of diversity showcasing the best work Island playwrights produced in that particular year. Directors are chosen, local actors are auditioned, the rehearsals begin.
The first show is tonight, Oct. 19, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Subsequent shows are Saturday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 26, 27 and 28; same time, same place. The suggested donation is $10 and benefits the Payne-Fierro Scholarship Fund.
And for anyone who ventures out and is inspired, either by what they love or do not care for, the night can serve as a call to one’s own creativity and the chance next year to be part of the crop.