But this time out, music isn’t the thing — not exactly. But the dialogue and the pacing in “Frederick,” which gets its first spin around the literary block during the February meeting of the North Shore Readers Theater Collaborative, suggests music, like the patter of a smooth Prussian talker or Russian stalker or something. It’s usually always there if you listen for it. “Josh’s work tends to be motivated by rhythm,” says Leslie Pasternack, who will be directing the production. “Lots of folks strive for the most realistic dialogue possible, the most ordinary talk, but Josh composes his plays with great attention to their total sonic effect. “In this case, rather than the classical music he often weaves into a script, the writing of Henry James provides inspiration,” Pasternack says. “There is a heightened use of language, but it has a playful, teasing quality. And, of course, rhythms are sometimes the most fun when they are broken, so Josh uses some twists and oddities that keep you engaged as the story unfolds. The changes in rhythm both drive and arise from the changes in character.”
So, what’s it all about then, if not crazy, self-aggrandizing Old Fritz?
Not quite the conquest of Silesia or historical run-up to the Seven Years War, both of which worked out very well for the Prussian Frederick, but a drama on a very human scale — and an intriguing emotional battlefield for our Freddie. And, as always with Faigen, it’s not so much about the ride as it is the scenery along the way.
The reading features performances by Kimberly Holliday, Jack Rushton and Kathy Isbell.
JUST THE FACTS, MAN: North Shore Readers Theater Collaborative will present a reading of Port playwright Joshua Faigen’s new play “Frederick the Great” at 10 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Actors Studio, The Tannery, 50 Water St., Mill Building #1. Performing will be Kimberly Holliday, Kathleen Isbell and Jack Rushton. Leslie Pasternack directs. Tickets are $7. For more information, log on to newburyportacting.org.