Reading Series at Valley Beth Shalom

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience at the Dramatists Guild Summer Intensive in LA. At that workshop, I met a playwright named Michael Goldstein where we chatted for a bit, mostly about politics, then followed each other on Twitter and went off into the sunset.

In October, I got an e mail from Michael out of the blue that said he was taking over the leadership of the Valley Beth Shalom Jewish Writer's Repertory Theatre after participating as a playwright and producer for the last two years. As part of his new role, he was adding a bimonthly reading series where playwrights could have their work read by actors and would I be interested in participating that month? I wasn’t able to make the October meeting, but wrote him a couple weeks ago and asked if I could come to the December workshop. He said yes and that there was a spot open for a playwright and would I like to participate?


This was the first playwriting workshop/table read I’ve ever participated in and it was enormously helpful, first of all, just to hear professional actors work. This is L.A. The actors are good. Secondly, I could discern various points of energy in the play – where the action dragged and where the actors felt energized – and where the dialogue felt stilted or false. After the reading, other playwrights and actors offered feedback on the play, which gave me an entrance point into the revision. I was also able to hear two other readings of plays and, as with most workshop experiences, I learned as much from those readings as I did from my own. 

Thank you, Michael, Valley Beth Shalom and all the playwrights and actors who participated. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning!

Gwen Goodkin