Stage & Screen students conduct ‘table read’ for Emmy-winning writer

Students in Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen recently worked with a multiple Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer on the first reading of a play about a newly discovered work possibly written by William Shakespeare.

Students in the school’s Third Rail Players ensemble – along with faculty members Claire Eye, D.V. Caitlyn and Peter Savage – participated in a table-reading session with Patricia Green for her new play, “Will.”

A resident of Asheville, Green has been nominated seven times for an Emmy, with three wins. She has served as writer, producer and executive producer for the acclaimed TV series “Cagney and Lacey,” “China Beach,” “L.A. Law” and “Chicago Hope.” She also developed and served as co-executive producer for “Christy,” a TV series based on the novel by Catherine Marshall, and filmed entirely in the Great Smoky Mountains.

“Will” centers on the drama that occurs when a “new page” of a manuscript is discovered, re-igniting the controversy over who actually wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. The play takes place in two acts and travels from the year 1587 to the present.

In the recent “table read,” the cast of WCU students and faculty read the script aloud, bringing characters to life without benefit of a full production or direction, said Claire Eye, assistant professor of theatre.

“It allows the playwright the opportunity to hear her words before moving in to revisions,” Eye said. “Students also gain experience in this critical skill. Table reads are conducted in produced plays, scripted television series and feature films. We often see table reads in highlight reels for drama series and sit-coms, and it is vital that performers develop that skill as they enter the professional industry.”