John Galas, who is joining the theater and dance staff this year as a Guest Artist in Residency, is currently in the process of directing theater students in a series of readings of full-length and one-act plays.
These rehearsed “readings” consist of actors reading and acting out the script with no set or costumes applied.
The series, titled the “Lab Reading Series,” kicked off with a reading of “Twelve Angry Men” by Reginald Rose on Aug. 31. So far, two more readings are scheduled for this semester.
The next reading will be of “The Pillowman,” a piece about police interrogating a short-story writer concerning his horrifying short-stories.
“When I chose plays for the ‘Lab Reading Series,’ I wanted to choose plays that were well-crafted and entertaining when the staging was taken away,” Galas said. “ ‘Pillowman’ accomplishes this splendidly and was actually the first play I chose.”
Written in the 1990s and premiering in 2003, “The Pillowman” is written by Martin McDonagh, an Irish playwright, whose writing credits include the Academy Award-winning film “In Bruges.”
“The Pillowman” deals with heavy themes such as child murder, but Galas insists that there is comedy in the show as well.
“It weaves truly dark, horrific themes with amazing comedy, and the writing is brilliant,” Galas said. “If you want to laugh hysterically one second and be truly horrified the next, come see ‘The Pillowman.’ ”
Galas, originally from Granby, Connecticut, said he holds the play in high regard.
“It’s one of my favorites,” Galas said. “I first read this play back when I was in college and have seen two productions of it, and every time I read it or see it, I love it more.
“ ‘Pillowman’ appeals to me because it is both a challenge for me as a director as well as the actors. It combines comedy and horror effortlessly.”
Galas also said that directing is fairly new to him.
“I have been a professional actor for seven years, but have only begun directing relatively recently,” Galas said. “Acting was my main focus, but directing had always interested me in terms of shaping the vision of an entire show.
“When I got to Troy, I had the opportunity and jumped at the chance.”
“The Pillowman” will showcase four Troy University Theatre and Dance students and will be presented in the Blackbox Theatre in upstairs Malone Hall at 7 p.m. this Sunday.
The last reading set for the series will be “Beyond Therapy” by Christopher Durang, which is expected to be performed later this semester.