Palladium Players to read ‘Blithe Spirit’


Table readings of scenes from classic and contemporary plays seemed a good way for the Center for the Performing Arts to engage with the public amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Palladium Players was among the early ideas we developed last spring, as we began providing more programming online or for small groups that can be safely distanced,” said Scott Hall, the Carmel-based Center for the Performing Arts director of communications.

The program will feature a reading from Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” at 7 p.m. Jan. 11. Some sessions have included participants on-site, but Palladium Players is presented online only via Zoom video conference. The program is coordinated by Krista Layfield, the Center’s educational and community engagement assistant.

For each gathering, people can read a summary of the story in advance on the Center’s website and request the character they want to read. Upon registering, participants will receive a character assignment. No acting experience is necessary.

“It’s a casual and fun opportunity to enjoy great literature written for the stage and really just connect with other people at a time when that’s not always easy to do,” Hall said. “And if someone develops a greater appreciation for theater, that’s a wonderful result, too.”

Hall said the program was first conducted in May with William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and the staff got positive feedback from participants. Productions have included Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” in September and Ian McWethy’s “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors” in November. The next reading after Jan. 11 will be in March.

“We’re picking up new people each time, and we also have some regulars now, both actors and non-actors, who really seem to be enjoying it and finding a sense of community,” Hall said.

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