Sophomore Chris Forrer is looking forward to taking the next step in creating his play, “Checkmate,” after holding a staged reading of his play Oct. 1 in the Marshall Theatre.
A staged reading involves actors reading the script on a stage.
“They step out of the box of reading from behind music stands,” Forrer said.
He will use the staged reading to develop his script and submit it to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VII, a gathering for aspiring playwrights in the Northwest.
Last year, Forrer’s 10-minute play “The Smoker” was one of six plays that received a staged reading at the festival. It also appeared in CAMAS, Linfield’s Journal of Art & Literature.
Forrer has also written several other 10-minute plays.
Forrer said the idea for “Checkmate” dates back to high school drama class. While practicing movement scenes, he said he was inspired by the concept of actors being only able to move like chess pieces.
“Checkmate” is a spoof of the noir genre that tells the story of personified board game pieces.
Detective Sam Bishop is trying to bring down the crime lord, “Queen,” with the help of his assistant Megan “Rookie” Castle and Sgt. Patrick McKnight.
Along the way, they encounter a rough gang of checkers, some illiterate Scrabble letters and other characters.
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and resident director Janet Gupton contacted Forrer during the summer hoping to do a project this fall. Forrer sent her a draft in July but said he has been working on “Checkmate” for about a year.
“It was fun getting to work with Janet,” Forrer said.
Gupton is directing the staged reading. She cast it along with Forrer. The cast features a number of student actors.
Forrer said the casting process at this stage is all about voice.
“A staged reading is meant to feel like the play is being read for the first time, not staged or performed, he said.”
If he were to move toward performing “Checkmate” as a play, he would make sure all the characters move like their chess counterpart, and even paint the stage to look like a giant game board, he said.
Forrer is a theater and political science double major. In addition to writing plays, he said he is involved in the Double Vision Jazz Choir and the Forensics program.
The reading is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Marshall Theatre of Ford Hall. Admission is free.
Sean Lemme/Staff reporter
Sean Lemme can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.