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'Reader's Theatre' at Burning Books

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Josh Pacino from The Honesty Theatre performs as Ulysses Penniworth in "Reader's Theater" in Burning Books on July 27, 2012 as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival.

The Infringement Festival has its roots in theater, and this year's festival features any number of short, one-off theater performances by little known troupes and individuals. The Honesty Theatre, about which I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more in the near future, recently relocated to Buffalo from Batavia. I just took in its first local performance at Burning Books (a radical bookstore and reading room on Connecticut Street that is well worth checking out on its own), a presentation of a short piece called "Reader's Theater."

When actor Joseph Mallison, as one Nigel Cunningham, announced that the piece would consist of readings from overlooked works of literature, delivered in "almost inexcusably delicious stentorian tones," I was intrigued. When he pulled out the diary of one 13-year-old Jessica Townsend and began reading dramatic interpretations of her teenage angst, I was hooked. The totally tongue-in-cheek affair went on to include readings from a hilariously anachronistic '60s manual on how women should conduct themselves and excerpts from actual Craigslist personal ads. I shot a little clip, which doesn't exactly give you a sense of how well this stuff is written (as a kind of pastiche of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward), but it's worth watching regardless:

This was for sure one of the funniest bits of theater I've seen on any stage locally this year. Sadly, it won't be performed again during the festival, but you can catch The Honesty Theater, founded by Heather Rae Ackerman, on Aug. 24 at Buffalo East (1410 Main St.) performing their original piece "Games." Which I highly suggest you do.

--Colin Dabkowski

tagged

Infringement Festival | Theater
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