Act One: RCAH faculty Lisa Biggs starts play reading series

On September 25, the RCAH played host to a new reading series. For the first installment in the Occasional Play Reading Series, Assistant Professor Lisa Biggs and a group of participants read “Detroit ’67” by Dominique Morisseau in the RCAH Theater.

Biggs said she began the series because she wanted to contribute to the activities already taking place on campus but that she also wanted to add something different.

“It’s an opportunity to share the voices of new and emerging playwrights whose work addressed critical, but often overlooked, contemporary issues,” Biggs said, adding that she decided to label it “occasional” so participants would find it easily accessible. “It’s a non-scary way of entering into theater.”

Biggs said she first got interested in theater when she was in middle school, when she landed the part of a hippo in a play. She was also cast as an understudy in the same production, and when the girl who was originally cast for the part got sick, Biggs had her chance.

“I remember doing my role (as the hippo) for the first three scenes, and when I had to do my part, I don’t remember,” Biggs said. “I just went into a state of flow. I remember starting it and applause at the end and that is all. I realized it was something I could do, I had talent. It was very liberating. It allowed me to access parts of myself that I didn’t know how to get to otherwise.”

RCAH student Josh Schriver said he was first drawn to the play reading series because the work focused on Detroit.

“Now that I’ve experienced it, I want to do it again,” Schriver said. “It’s inspired me to look into other acting and play reading avenues, which is cool.”

At the next event on October 23, participants will read “Anna in the Tropics,” by Nilo Cruz. 

Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block. Header and story images by Katie Wittenauer.

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