Local theatre enthusiast Lionel Lustgarten has launched a brand new way for folks to take part in a theatrical experience.
Readers’ Theatre gives participants the experience of performing in a theatrical production without the need to learn scripts, or to work with complex sets, costumes or make-up.
It distills the pure experience of a stage performance, providing a relaxed atmosphere for both participants and audience.
“Join us in Red Deer’s newest theatre group and participate in the pleasure of being ‘on stage’, where the fun starts from the first minute.”
The group meets every second Thursday at the Timberlands Branch of the Red Deer Public Library (in the same building as the Barry Wilson School – 300 Timothy Dr.)
Gatherings are also open to all ages.
As Lustgarten pointed out, typically with most productions, those involved have to commit to a lengthy period of time to see the show through to its finish. But with Readers’ Theatre, participants can just show up to a meeting and dive right in via a reading of some really well-known scripts.
“A lot of people say they may not be ready to give that sort of time commitment,” he said of the regular theatre experience.
“There are a lot of people that love theatre and want to be involved,” he said, adding he got the idea to start up the group during a trip to the U.S.
“This is something that I hadn’t seen much of, other than what he had sometimes done at Red Deer Players. There seemed to be some interest in it.”
From there, plans came together to put the Readers’ Theatre together.
“It’s very, very basic – just come in, get involved and have some fun. We kind of take all of the work out of it for those people who don’t want to put in a big commitment for time.”
Meanwhile, participants have been having a grand time via readings, he said, adding that making the most of one’s voice is key to pulling off the very best, most entertaining results.
“For me, the main activity is using your voice – you have to create scenes that people will find believable. And secondly, you have to transport people from where they are to another place. If you can do those two things with your voice, you’ve got the essence of acting. From there, you can go anywhere you want to.
“The voice can be such a wonderfully expressive instrument.”
Lustgarten has long been a fan of acting and of the theatre world in general, having penned his very first play when he was just 11. Over the years, he’s been regularly involved in a range of productions, and that has continued with his move to Red Deer three years ago from Ontario. “It’s a wonderful community – I’ve been impressed from day one,” he said, smiling.
Meanwhile, he’s excited about spreading the work about Readers’ Theatre.
“I figure if we can get a group of 20 people interested – which means we would probably have a group of 12 to 15 come out every second Thursday, that would be terrific. We are looking at scripts that are fairly short, preferably one-act, with not too many characters – maybe up to about eight.”
Meanwhile, the ones who have attended are having a blast.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever do any performing (publicly) – right now, we are just having a lot of fun!”
For more information, call Lionel Lustgarten at 587-679-6222.