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Staged reading opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, in the Rose Villa Performing Arts Center

Milwaukie's New Century Players will present a staged reading of "Infinite Black Suitcase," opening at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, and continuing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, in the Rose Villa Performing Arts Center, 13505 S.E. River Road, Oak Grove.

PHOTO BY RON PALMBLAD - Todd Carlson, left, and Sid Louie rehearse for New Century Players upcoming staged reading of 'Infinite Black Suitcase,' opening on Jan. 26 at the Rose Villa Performing Arts Center.The play "takes place in one day in a small town in Oregon. There are three different storylines and a few stand-alone scenes that are somewhat woven together," said director Ron Palmblad.

The stories revolve around how the characters deal with losing someone dear to them and how they move on after they are gone.

Some of the underlying themes in the play include cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer's.

"It is very well written. In short order, you understand who the characters are and feel for them. I also was intrigued by the location; it takes place near my home," Palmblad said.

Focus on characters

The play is something different for New Century, in that it is a stage reading, which "is an entire play performance without sets, lighting and costumes. The actors hold their scripts in hand and do not move about the stage with 'blocking,' as in a full production," Palmblad said.

"Without those elements and the necessity for memorization, the actors can focus on characterization."

A staged reading also lends itself to a much shorter rehearsal schedule.

"Instead of weeks or months we will rehearse only four nights, then perform three nights, all in the same week," Palmblad said.

"The audience will enjoy the personal way the characters deal with the challenges in their lives. They should relate to something in their own life or someone close to them."

Live theater

What: New Century Players present a staged reading of "Infinite Black Suitcase," by E.M. Lewis

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and 27 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 28

Where: Rose Villa Performing Arts Center, 13505 S.E. River Road, Oak Grove

Tickets: $5 at the door and online at NewCenturyPlayers.org or call 503-367-2620

Cast: Steve Walton, Danny Caputo, Ann Haldy, Sid Louie, Dillon Pilorget, Cecelia Shroyer, Todd Carlson, Kara Thiringer, Kate Mulligan, Ron K. Palmblad, Phil Rudolf, and Randall Hand.

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