Barter Theatre Presents Staged Reading: DW Gregory’s A Thing of Beauty

Barter Theatre will present D.W. Gregory’s new comedy A Thing of Beauty  in its Appalachian Festival of New Plays and Playwrights Feb. 23 – Feb. 26 in Abingdon, VA.

The play will receive a staged reading on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m.,  in Barter’s Smith Theatre. Directed by Derek Davidson, the reading features Tricia Matthews, Kim Morgan Dean, Ashley Campos, Justin Lewis, and Michael Poisson.

A Thing of Beauty is the story of a small town thrown into an uproar by an audacious work of art. It is one of six plays included in the festival, which focuses on new works about the Appalachian region or by authors living in the region. Other works include a new musical, Hooten Holler, by Ketch Secor,  founding member of the Grammy award-winning Old Crow Medicine Show, and new plays from Audrey Cefaly,  Phil Keeling, Catherine Bush, and Russell Nichols, who is also the winner of Barter’s Black Stories, Black Voices initiative.

A resident of Shepherdstown, WV, D.W. Gregory is best known for her drama Radium Girls, which has received more than 1,500 productions throughout the United States and abroad. Her play Memoirs of a Forgotten Man premiered in West Virginia’s Contemporary American Theatre Festival in 2018.

A Thing of Beauty: The Story

What is the function of art? It to elevate us or shake us up? The leading citizens of a stuffy seaside resort  wrestle with that question when an anonymous nude takes first prize in the community’s first annual art competition. As local gossips speculate about exactly whose bare butt is depicted in the painting, Mrs. Bouffant, the competition’s sponsor, lobbies the judges to choose a more appropriate winner, unaware that the muse who inspired the offending work is her own secretary. But the quest for propriety is upended when  an influential New York art critic arrives on the scene—and takes an undue interest in the prize-winner.

The reading is free to the public, but reservations are recommended. To reserve, go to this link.