The June 20 2016 reading of one of three winning plays in theTRU VOICES 18th ANNUAL PLAY READING SERIES went very well:

VEILS OF JUSTICE by T. Anntares

Directed by David Stallings, Artistic Director, MT Works

Cast, in order of speaking:

John A. Nelson (Stage Directions)

Kenneth Talberth, (Doug Wingate)…Chris S. Ogren, (Mazen “Zen” Tamedo)… 

Kathleen A. O’Neill, (Lynn Payne Wingate)… Patricia M. Lynn (Miriam Joseph, Esq)… 

Carol Hickey (Geraldine White, Esq)… ​Larry Daggett (Chris Payne)

Staged reading at Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St, NYC 10023


The Story in brief: Accused of raping and robbing an American at knifepoint , a young Afghan, raised Taliban with a Saudi father who fought Russians with bin Laden, insists he is innocent. Guilty or not, can he get a fair trial in a post-9/11 NYC courtroom?  The answer depends on three women - his Jewish defense lawyer,  a prosecutor determined to force a plea deal, and the accuser’s wife, who is unexepectedly called as a witness to trial or for the defendant. And even more challenging, on his accuser's gay brother-in-law.


After the reading, a "Dollars and Sense" panel included:
Pat Addiss, producer (Gigi, A Christmas Story, Dinner with the Boys, Buyer and Cellar, Promises Promises, Little Women); Patrick Blake, producer (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan, My Life Is a Musical, Play Dead, The Exonerated); Daniel Kuney, general manager with Jumpstart Entertainment (Rock of Ages, Fela!, Reasons to Be Pretty); Tom Polum, producer (The Toxic Avenger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All Shook Up)


Comments from Audience members at the staged reading in response to request in program to email thoughts about what resonated, what didn't.  Many of these comments also included very valuable suggestions for next draft (underway) and reflect the dynamic actors and supportive, deeply perceptive director, despite barely time to read through each scene 2-3 times:

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From a writer:
What a thrilling, powerful, and moving play you've written!  I think the title is fine (unless you can come up with something that suggests justice itself is on trial). What resonated for me?  Pretty much everything. 
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From a producer/director: dark, funny, unnerving play, that turns our ideas about justice upside down...fast paced, thought provoking. Makes us think about how hidden lives and motives can affect justice. All the hot buttons are here: shocking sex, fears of Arabs, betrayals, bridges across barriers, and maybe even redemption for some.... 
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From playwright: So
happy for you!  What a triumphant success! 
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From a film producer/writer/actor:
Play was great . V good writing 
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From wife of lawyer:
Your play is spellbinding and even my judgmental husband liked it.  You wrote the characters so movingly!  The actors were so wonderful!
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From art and design historian/collector and her retired FAA analyst husband: W
hat a triumph! We congratulate you. We were both impressed with the power of your work. I truly believe this play will and must have a life… So many strands woven together into a compelling whole.
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From a corporate manager:  T
hank you so much for the opportunity to see the full reading of Veils of Justice last night.  The play was wonderfully written, and truly kept me engaged and riveted throughout.  I thought that all the actors gave really impressive performances, and you could tell that the audience was completely transported into the story as well.  Congratulations on what must have been an amazing night … to see your piece performed in a full house theater.  
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From a writer/filmmaker:
Congratulations on your wonderful play! I meant to introduce myself afterwards, but I guess I kind of got lost in the crowd. My bad! I think your play is terrific and I hope to see it developed further. I think Pat Addiss’s idea of NY Theatre Workshop is really potentially a good fit. It was not at all what I expected—not pedantic, preachy or self righteous—immediate, fresh, compelling. Your writing is quite amazing. And your actors were all spot-on! That was also unexpected for a reading. ,,, I’m a bit biased since I’m also an actress, as well as producer—but I think the less well-known actors always provide a better ensemble experience for a play. Like have you seen The Humans? And of course Eclipsed! Fabulous ensembles. So, all the best for the future of this piece. Oh, I used to be heavily involved in THAW and we produced street theater in front of Manhattan Correctional Facility for months in support of Fahad Hashmi, who was seriously caught up in the post-911 hysteria that saw anyone outspoken about their Islamic faith as a threat. 
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From a financial firm business analyst:
Can't tell you how wonderful your play is and what a stupendous achievement it is! There is no "veil" drawn over your talent now
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From novelist  formerly involved with Bway productions: J
ust wanted to share a few thoughts I had about seeing the reading last night.   First. I am knocked out that you've accomplished so much. To have gotten it this far from a virtual standing start. You really had the audience and I was truly moved at the end. I cared and was thrilled with the verdict. That's not an easy thing to accomplish! I wasn't aware of any fidgeting, coughing, rustling. That doesn't happen by accident. Well done!
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From head of a university arts therapy dept: Y
ou know that a play is good when it haunts you - and your play is definitely sticking around!  Tita- it is a terrific story and I really wish you all the best with getting it out there.  I think it would do VERY well!!!  Thanks for including us in the audience!
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From actor who had read one of the parts in table readings but was not free for rehearsals: 

Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a show!  And a great turnout. A testament to your appeal to folks all over!
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From a senior mgr in major business consulting firm and former manager at finance firms.
C
ongratulations! What a success. I really liked the play!! There was a lot of emotion...parts where I felt for the characters, parts where I was mad, parts where I cringed in fear, parts when I wanted to scream, and parts where I laughed. You had it all!  Congratulations again and I'm so glad I came out tonight. Well worth it and such a great story to watch. 

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From a writer:  What a thrilling, powerful, and moving play you've written!  What resonated for me?  Pretty much everything.

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From an opera singer: The play ...for whatever I know...which is not a lot...seemed to be really tight! I judge art by....did my mind wander...or did I stay focused...like a great Bach piece of music? Well...I can tell you...everyone was focused! My mind didn't wander and I could not believe how well the play moved along...no need for any breaks! A Tannheuser!!More than all this....there was real love expressed....the most important thing about life

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From Bway/TV /Film director who could only read the script in LA:  Strong, eloquent, incisive. I wish I were in New York to see it, or perhaps even be part of it in some way.  It's difficult to suggest trims without hearing it; that's because it's quite tight and any trims should come from the hearing of it on its feet.  It does need to be played with attack and energy; New York energy. There's not a casual moment.  A well-written, thought provoking play. Exciting!  Superb theater

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Supported in part by public funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Council Member Inez E. Dickens, 9th Council District, NY State Council on the Arts and The Friars and Montage Foundations


Question if you read this far: What about changing the name of the private gay club in the story from The Limestone to "Ascots" and make that the title of the play? Contact us if you have a thought!


anntares.com

​Veils of Justice - Staged Reading

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