CARDINAL PLAY DATES
Play Dates is a monthly script-reading club. It’s just like a book club, but for theater! Each month we’ll read a different play or musical and then meet to discuss the piece. We’ll read a little bit of the show out loud, talk about themes and characters, and occasionally do Q&A with playwrights or other theater experts. If you love theater and want to expand your knowledge or meet fellow theater fans, this is the group for you!
Anyone can join Play Dates for free, but members will need to purchase scripts each month (or borrow them from the library). We want to ensure that playwrights are getting paid for their work. We will provide links to outlets where each month’s script will be available for purchase or loan, as well as additional resources like cast albums or video recordings.
Play Dates will meet on the final Wednesday of each month at 7pm over Zoom, until we are able to meet in person. Find more info about this month’s play below!
July Play: The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington
July Meeting Date: Wednesday, July 22 at 7:00 pm via Zoom
Playwright James Ijames will be attending our Play Date meeting to discuss his work!
The recently widowed “Mother of America” lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the very enslaved people who will be free the moment she dies. The form-shifting fever dream takes us deep into the ugly, uncomfortable and thorny ramifications of America’s original sin. Both fantastical and fraught with cruel reality, this play from a daring new voice pulls no punches as it puts our idols, and ourselves, on trial.
This play is available for purchase through Dramatists Play Service.
Meet the Playwright: James Ijames
James has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre.
James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.
James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award and a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise.
James is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective.
He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia. Learn more about James on his website.