The Hotch Sept. 28-29

Annual playwriting festival to feature three staged readings

From left to right: Director Jeffery Matthews, playwright Leah Barsanti and dramaturg Michele Volansky workshopping Barsanti’s ‘If I Were You’ and other Elvis Presley Songs in the Carson Room in Mallinckrodt Center. The play will make its world premiere Sept. 29 as part of The Hotch, WUSTL’s annual playwrighting festival. Photo by Beth Palmer.

In drama as in life, there is what we say, and then there is what other people hear.

On Sept. 28 and 29, three young playwrights will put their words to the test as part of the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival.

“There is a new level of learning that comes with hearing your work read aloud,” says Carter W. Lewis, playwright in residence in the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences, who coordinates the festival.

“When the words are on the page, they are often mistaken for prose,” Lewis says. “But when they’re spoken by actors in front of an audience, they become behavior. And that’s what playwriting really is — it’s writing behavior.”

Nicknamed “The Hotch,” the annual festival consists of an intensive two-week workshop, led by a visiting artist, which culminates in the staged readings.

This year’s workshop is led by renowned dramaturg Michele Volansky, a past-president of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.

Students reading last fall as part of the 2011 A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival. Pictured, from left to right, are Meghan Kenny, Gabriel Abramowitz, Will Jacobs and Sarah Palay. Photo by Jonathan White.