Play Reading SIG

Do you love reading plays?  Our SIG gives participants a chance to read aloud and analyze scenes and characters from prize-winning plays. 

We meet once or twice per month for two hours, usually on a Friday afternoon, so as not to conflict with other OLLI courses.  During the year we are open to suggestions as to which plays to read, while in the summer, when hopefully theatres will resume performances, we choose plays that we can both read and view. 

We encourage our members to prepare and lead discussions on plays that interest them.  Thriving on group participation, we allow two sessions to cover each one.  Particular editions are selected that can be  ordered online or from the Lenox Bookstore.

In the past our meetings have been in person but this year our group has been very successful on Zoom.  We hope to see you there!

Please contact Barbara Waldinger or Karel Fisher for more details or additional information about the Play Reading SIG.

Schedule of Forthcoming Play Reading Events

Our upcoming meetings are:

Friday, June 18 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Oleanna (2nd half) facilitated by Peter Podol

Friday, July 9 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Eleanor Burgess' The Niceties (1st half) facilitated by Julie Koppenheffer

Friday, July 30 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) The Niceties (2nd half) facilitated by Julie Koppenheffer

Friday, Aug. 13 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Yasmina Reza's Art (1st half) facilitated by Mara Winn

Friday, Aug. 27 (3:00 - 5:00 pm) Art (2nd half) facilitated by Mara Winn

Peter Podol has found a very good website with commentary and film clips of the 2014 Broadway production of Machinal: (Katrin Redfern - StageWorks Episode 5: A Review of Machinal)

The editions of the plays we will be using are as follows:

Machinal published jointly by the Royal National Theatre, London and Nick Hern Books Ltd., London, 1963. (cover: black and white photograph of Fiona Shaw from the Royal National Theatre production, 1963) Available at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA as well as online booksellers.

Oleanna published by Vintage Books, New York, 1993. (cover: title highlighted in yellow, photograph of young woman in foreground, man on a telephone in the background) Available at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA as well as online booksellers (Amazon also has a number of used copies from $1.00 up; new $14.95)

The Niceties Oberon Modern Plays (cover: color photograph of a young African American woman and an older white woman wearing eyeglasses, both have their elbows resting on stacks of books) Available from online booksellers ($14.95 new at Amazon; also used copies from $10+, but make sure you get the Oberon Modern Plays edition)

Art (acting edition) published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. and available from them for $10.00 by ordering through; also available at for $10 new and from $1.99 used, but make sure to get the Dramatist Play Service acting edition (yellow cover).

The next play we are reading is Oleanna by David Mamet.  Peter Podol will be leading us in reading and discussing that play on Friday, June 4. Peter Sohn has forwarded a link to an interview with Mamet concerning the play (see below).

Here is a link to the Roundabout Theater’s trailer for their 2014 production of Machinal.  Thanks to Peter Sohn for providing this.  There are interviews with the director and cast and they offer a different “take” on the play.

If the video doesn’t start when you click on the link, try pasting the link into your browser and pressing Enter.

Thanks also to Karel Fisher who expertly guided the group through a complex play.

OLLI THEATER PARTY - ART - The Shakespeare & Co. box office will have tickets set aside for an OLLI theater party matinee of ART on August 18 at 2:00 pm followed by a Q & A. Ticket prices are $23, $29, or $35. Members can call the box office and ask for OLLI discount tickets. 

OLLI THEATER PARTY - THE CHAIRS - The theater party for Eugene Ionesco's THE CHAIRS at Shakespeare & Co. is October 13 @ 7:30 pm. Details on discount tickets to this performance to follow.

Click here to sign up for our free email newsletter, and don't miss out on our great programs!

Click here to support lifelong learning in the Berkshires

OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 |

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software