Last year, Arts Collective, a part of Howard Community College’s drama department along with the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, presented a reading series of three productions with the theme of revolution.
It was a new venture that involved little stage direction, minimal props and few rehearsals as the actors read from scripts on the stage. It was also a surprise success both in interest and attendance.
“We had a big turnout, close to 50 people,” said Sue Kramer, Arts Collective artistic director, of auditions. “Performers in the area really love a low commitment project. We decided to do it again. Same format. Same footprint,”
This year, the theme for the readings is mystery. The three productions, “Classic,” “ Clue” and “The Real Inspector Hound,” will be produced on Jan. 25, 26 and 27 at Howard Community College.
“We love being involved with it,” said Tara Hart, co-chair of HoCoPoLitSo board of directors and department chair of Humanities at Howard Community College. “HoCoPoLitSo does not have as many opportunities to work in the genre of drama. We look for these to reach more people.”
Founded in 1974, HoCoPoLitSo produces three or four major events related to poetry or literature every year, Hart said, including the popular Irish Evening of Music and Poetry event, which will celebrate its 41st year this February.
“We pride ourselves on bringing the best writers to Howard County,” Hart said. “Our mission is to cultivate appreciation … for the written word.”
Besides the reading series, HoCoPoLitSo and Arts Collective have partnered for other productions including a past production of the “Chronicles of Narnia.”
“Afterward, they had an author answer questions about the book,” Kramer said. “It is a nice partnership. We keep perfecting it each time.”
For the reading series, HoCoPoLitSo invited a film professor to discuss the differences between the play and 1985 movie version of “Clue.”
Hart is also directing the reading of “The Real Inspector Hound” by Tom Stoppard.
“Last year was my first opportunity to direct and it was a learning experience,” said Hart, who directed “The Penelopiad,” based on the novella by Margaret Atwood, in the Revolution reading series. “I found I really enjoyed it.”
She selected the play “The Real Inspector Hound” because she had been involved with it in college. She even invited a former cast mate to audition, and to her surprise, he did.
“He aged out of his original role,” Hart laughed. “It’s been a nostalgic ride for me.”
Performers come from all over the area, Kramer said, and have a variety of experience.
All shows will be performed at Howard Community College’s Monteabaro Recital Hall in the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia. Tickets are $10 per show; $25 for all three. Go to howardcc.edu or call 443-518-1500.