The Play's the Thing | Mechanics' Institute

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The Play's the Thing

How does a play evolve? How do actors unravel the complexities of characters they portray?

Tonight, we'll present a staged reading of scene one from Encounters, a one-act play. An essential part of play development, staged readings allow the playwright and actors to move deeper into a work, to hone and clarify its theme. After the reading, the actors and the playwright will discuss their process and take questions.

Encounters written and directed by Helen Noakes, performed by Melissa Clason and Edward Hightower.

Scene 1 – The Golden Gate Bridge. A woman stands at its rail stealing glances at the city, the icy waters beneath. A man approaches. He’s determined to save her. Or is he?


Helen Noakes writes plays, fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her first play was a semifinalist in the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's 2009 National Playwright's Conference. Her work has appeared at The San Francisco Olympians Festival and New Writers/New Works. An Associate Member of the Dramatist's Guild of America, Helen continues developing plays at San Francisco Dramatists, and prose at one of The Mechanics' Institute's first writers' groups. Her column, Waking Point, is published by Weekly Hubris (

Melissa Clason received her BFA through the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. While she possesses a deep love for established works, Melissa thrives on new play and musical development; bringing new characters to life and participating in the creative process from inception to production. Some favorite roles include: Pride/Chorus Leader (The Bakkhai: A Rock Musical), Goneril (King Lear), Ann Putnam (The Crucible), Pigeon Two (Squawk, The Musical) and Casanova Ken (Kursk). Facebook: Melissa Clason, Instagram: @sweet_melassis, Twitter: @sweetmelassis

Edward Hightower is an award-winning actor of 30 years' experience. You can see him every day by searching YouTube for the name Wayne McFarkus or the phrase, No I said Mr. Pickles. When not working in theater or film, Edward prefers to be backpacking.


Members $5
Public $5
Register now ›
4th Floor Meeting Room
Taryn Edwards - 415-393-0103
Register now by using the form below or calling .

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