The BAPF officially kicked off last night, starting with a talk with theater legend Robert Woodruff, who founded BAPF thirty years ago. I ran into Garret Groenveld, Aaron Loeb, Liz Lisle, Jonathan Spector and a bunch of other theater folk, then watched a staged reading of Julie Hébert’s TREE, about a white southern woman who goes off in search of the black half-brother she just learned about after her father’s death.
I’m always amazed at the quality of the acting at these kinds of readings, especially considering that the playwrights are often handing new pages to the actors right up to the moment they walk onstage. Margo Hall, in particular, was unbelievably good as Mrs. Price, a woman struggling with dementia who is lucid one moment, out of it completely the next. Brilliant.
After the play, there was plenty of champagne, cake, awards and a “Happy Birthday to BAPF” song with Garret and Aaron somehow falling into a cool harmony. More shows tonight and tomorrow: I got me a festival pass and I’m gonna use it.