The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Jackie Marcoux and Amanda Pawlik at the Hatbox Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Granite State Playwright’s Workshop

Where: Hatbox Theatre, 270 Loudon Road, Concord
When: Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2 and 6:30 p.m.
Admission: $16.50
Contact:,, 715-2315

First audience
Granite State Playwright’s Workshop

By Kelly Sennott

 There comes a time in every play’s life when it needs to be seen by more eyes, heard by more ears. The playwright has made every tweak he can think of, but the piece is still not ready to become a fully mounted production just yet.

Enter the Granite State Playwright’s Workshop, which will feature readings of two new plays on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2 and 6:30 p.m. at the Hatbox Theatre in Concord.
Jackie Marcoux and Amanda Pawlik, founders of GSPW and new theater company Working Title Productions, started planning the workshop in February over coffee at Cafe la Reine, a halfway point between their homes in Nashua and Concord, respectively. They knew one another from the University of Hartford theater program, and after moving back home to New Hampshire, were both seeking more local opportunities.
The resulting event brings together actors, directors and playwrights to rehearse and perform readings of original, new plays over the course of a single weekend. The company received nine submissions by eight playwrights after putting a call out this summer, and a blind panel chose the two premiering this weekend: Divine Intent by Marcoux, about a man who learns his father has kidnapped a young woman, and The Boy in the Box by Lesley Moreau, about a teenage girl who claims to have been kidnapped as a baby. 
They were inspired by the fast pace of the 24-hour theater festivals they’d both participated in.
“I think we were attracted by the terror that can come with having a quick deadline, which I think a lot of creative people can relate to,” Pawlik said. “If you go into it with the right mindset, it can push you to make some cool choices. It brings people together. … Any drama that might come up in a longer process — there’s really no time for that.”
The cast and crew — which in total consists of two playwrights, two directors, two stage managers and seven actors — will meet Friday at the theater to read through both scripts. On Saturday they’ll rehearse from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and during the Sunday performances, there will be no costumes, no sets and minimal props. Actors will perform the works with script in hand and simple movement.
Each piece is between an hour and an hour and 20 minutes, and at the end, audiences can provide feedback and speak with playwrights about what they liked, didn’t like or found confusing.
“Just to have [plays] workshopped — that isn’t always available. It’s a good opportunity for New Hampshire playwrights or other playwrights,” Pawlik said. “You can see where people are laughing, where they look uncomfortable. … You can see how the actor sees it, and how the audience is responding to it.”
Another aim, Marcoux said, is to provide New Hampshire audiences with something different. 
“It’s a real struggle to get new work done and out there because … audiences like to go to shows they know about. That’s why Into the Woods was done by three different local theater companies the last year and a half. That’s why the companies pick the shows they do. … So I think it’s really important to remind audiences to give new work a try,” Marcoux said. “The audience will have the opportunity to write down on the feedback card. … It might change the script, it might not, but you’re able to participate in theater in a way you might not be able to with other productions that are more established.” 

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu