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Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Reading Series starts May 5

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, one of the nation’s leading classic theatres, has announced this year’s lineup of play titles for their Lend Us Your Ears Reading Series which offers audiences the opportunity to join Shakespeare Theatre directors, actors, and artistic staff as they explore diverse and compelling plays.

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“This season’s reading series is particularly exciting as the three selections are all relatively contemporary—we get to time travel a lot more!” says Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. The script-in-hand readings by members of The Shakespeare Theatre’s esteemed company of actors are followed by a talk-back discussion with the director and cast, a chance for the audience to provide feedback and discuss the play’s potential for future production. Readings will take place May 5, September 22, and November 10 at 7 p.m.

The 2014 Series kicks off with Not About Heroes by Stephen MacDonald and directed by Stephen Brown-Fried. This year marks the centennial of the start of World War I, a meaningful and apt time to explore this intimate story about the friendship of two taciturn, complicated and brilliant men: Siegfried Sassoon, war hero and aristocrat, determined to expose the false ideals used to justify war; and the young poet, Wilfred Owen, recovering from the effects of shell-shock, and desperately seeking a hero and understanding. Their paths cross at Craiglockhart War Hospital for Nervous Disorders, in Edinburgh, in August, 1917. Not About Heroes will be read on May 5 at 7 p.m.

The Physicists by Friedrich Durrenmatt is the second play in the series and it explores the notion that the quest for new discoveries and knowledge often comes at a dear cost, with high stake responsibilities and consequences. Similar to the Theatre’s Main Stage production of Wittenberg, The Physicists places historical figures from different eras into one place and time, in this case, a mental sanatorium, with men who believe they are Einstein, Sir Issac Newton and Möbius. The play’s assertion of “What was once thought can never be unthought,” provokes reflection on the social responsibility of science and technology. The Physicists will be read on September 22 at 7 p.m.

A Tender Thing concludes the 2014 Reading Series. This contemporary remix of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been literally rearranged by Royal Shakespeare Company member Ben Power who has re-woven the familiar tale into an arresting new take on the undying passion of these timeless characters. A Tender Thing will be read on November 10 at 7 p.m.

Single tickets to each reading are $18 for adults and $10 for students. The Reading Series subscription package is $48 for all three readings. For more information about Lend Us Your Ears, visit ShakespeareNJ.org or call the Box Office at 973-408-5600.

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