'Hidden Agendas' play readings

"Hidden Agendas," staged readings of six new, short plays by the Oregon Stage Works Playwrights' Unit, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, June 28-29, at the Unitarian Center, Fourth and C streets, Ashland.

"The common theme of the plays (undisclosed plans and ulterior motives) is one that the writers wanted to explore," says Peter Alzado, director of the playwrights' group. "Each piece is a sharp and witty story that is told in each writer's decisive way. What's fascinating is that these writers have taken control of their work. They share insights as a group to help develop their craft and their strengths."

Members of the Playwrights' Unit meet at least once a week to read and critique each other's work, and occasionally actors from the community will join the meetings to read and offer supportive criticism. The members also organize their staged readings, present their work twice each year to the public and publicize their own shows.

Each of the play readings runs about 10 minutes.

There will be "Quarky," by Julie Excell. When a candidate vies for a pastoral post, skeletons are discovered in members of the search committee's closets.

"Cuisine to Die For," by Catherine Foster, takes a look at men in a weight loss-support group who find their wives strangely unwilling to help them in their effort.

"Bird in the Hand," by Catherine Noah, city editor at the Mail Tribune, is the story of hard-boiled detective Dick Sixkiller, who did an honorable thing when he took in his dead partner's wife and child. But he's tempted by a life of adventure with a buxom blonde.

"How to Be a Player in Reality Lit," by Molly B. Tinsley, is about a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who berates the professor who once humiliated her — and launched her writing career.

"HELP!," by Mary Rexford, is the story of a family that struggles to cope while paralyzed by grief.

In "The Other Side," by Bob Valine, a recent widow turns to a psychic for answers — and finds a few surprises.

Actors Excell, Foster, Scott Ford, Brian Fraser, Aubyn Heglie, Paul R. Jones, Alexei Menedes, Josiah Phillips of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Barbara Rosen, Gloria Rossi and Victoria Simone Stewart will read the plays.

Admission is $10 at the door. Call 541-261-2445.

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