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Theater Works Has Some Unfinished Business

By Kaitlin Stein, Mark Brodie
Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 - 5:01pm
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For the next two weeks, a handful of playwrights are giving you a chance to talk back. Starting Friday, Theater Works in Peoria is hosting the New Works WESTival.

Four plays that are still works in progress will be performed, and at the end of each one, audience members will have a chance to share their thoughts and feelings about what they just saw.

"How many times do you go to a play and you’re leaving a show and you have opinions that you would like to express? This is the opportunity to express them to the people who will actually make a difference and respond to them," said Dan Schay, executive director of Theater Works.

Since the plays are unfinished, they’re performed with stripped down sets and basic costumes. And the actors typically only have a few days of rehearsal to prepare.

But the audience feedback helps playwrights polish their work.

Local playwright Richard Warren has been involved with these types of festivals for years. He says that audience reactions are valuable, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is making sure he’s happy with his work.

"If you are writing hoping to get every play on stage or you’re hoping to get to Broadway, forget it, that’s not going to happen. Or it’s very unlikely to happen," Warren said. "You’ve gotta write plays because you love to write plays. Do what you like to do, and that will make you very happy."

And if live theater makes you happy, you can speak up at the New Works WESTival from Friday until July 27. While giving feedback is not required, this is a good chance to release your inner critic, and spare your friends and family. 

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