Reading Of Abby Koenig's "Complaint Box And/Or Good Times"

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Reading Of Abby Koenig's "Complaint Box And/Or Good Times"
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Wordsmyth Theater Company says
“Complaint Box and/or Good Times,” is a day in the life of three estranged sisters, who come together to clean out their childhood beach house. When an unexpected guest enters the picture, the women are forced to confront their sense of identity, their relationship to race and whether their complaints are nothing more than everyday problems. With droll, lightening-fast dialogue – at times bordering on the absurd – the play asks its audience whether racial issues are all relative or if it’s our relatives giving us issues.

The reading will also encourage audience participation, asking them to use their own experiences to fill the “complaint box.”

This partnership between Wordsmyth Theater and Koenig is a new approach to fostering local playwrights. With this reading the company has been a part of the entire writing process: reading, critiquing and rehearsing. Wordsmyth company member and director of the reading Melissa Flower has been actively involved since the beginning. “It’s been an interesting process to watch the play evolve since day one,” says Flower. “Abby [Koenig] and I have even been working through an online collaboration program to help us keep in touch. It is an engrossing piece, written with courage, wisdom and humor.”

Koenig’s most recent play, “Spaghetti Code,” won Broadway World Houston’s 2014 “Best New Play” and was a finalist in the Houston Press Theater Awards for “Best New Play.” She was awarded the HAA Individual Artist Grant to write a play and hold a staged reading.

The play and free staged reading is being funded through the Houston Arts Alliance esteemed Individual Artist Grant program, which was awarded to Koenig.

“When I applied for the award, I didn’t want to do a production,” says Koenig. “I really wanted this play to get an honest first reading, so that I could incorporate the audience’s critique in earnest. Often readings are done when a play is completed and it’s too late to incorporate feedback. “Also, because the play is about race, a heated topic, I wanted to make sure I could get a genuinely diverse response,” Koenig adds.

We have been toying with the idea to work with a local playwright in a more synergistic manner for some time. Elizabeth Earle, Wordsmyth’s Artistic Director, met with Koenig and the project fell into place. “We love fostering local talent,” says Earle. “This is an opportunity to highlight a local playwright’s work so we can all – the Houston community — be active contributors.”

Additionally the reading will feature some of Houston’s top talents including: Kim Tobin (Stark Naked Theatre), Mischa Hutchings (Catastrophic, Horse Head Theatre), Shelby Bray (Stages Repertory Theatre), Joe Palmore (The Alley Theatre), and new-comer Jakob Hulten (HSPVA).
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By: Wordsmyth Theater Company

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