The Bar Theatre Collective: Breaking Barriers Reading Series

Come see The Bar Theatre Collective’s Breaking Barriers Reading Series.

A Free In-Person Reading Series at HB Playwright’s Theater. October 2–15 at 7:00pm.

The Bar Theater Collective is a group of new playwrights who met during the pandemic in HB Studio’s virtual classroom to develop their craft with master playwright Eduardo Machado. Our mission is to help develop and produce the theatrical talents of writers, artists, and performers who have been called to the performing arts from many paths. We are a diverse group made up of mostly women; we are US and foreign-born; racially and ethnically mixed; LGBTQ and straight; extroverts and introverts; experienced artists and enthusiastic newcomers.


October 2
Illusion or (Me & Renoir at Nate’N Al’s) by Gary Kahn
1978. Billy, a young New York accountant strives to be something else – a famous writer in Hollywood. After the loss of his parents, ignoring the advice of his late father but yearning for his approval still, he sets out for California to show he can be his own man. Working for a superstar agent in LA, he’s given a mission to get a famous director, Jean Renoir, to give over his rights to have his films distributed in the latest new technology – home video. He is aided on this journey of discovery by a young woman and her boss – the owner of the first video store in America, as well as by Billy’s godmother, character actress Jane Connell (“Mame”). If Billy doesn’t succeed, he’s told by the agent that a Renoir-loving gangster won’t take the news too kindly. Will Renoir help save the “boy” or will Billy be the hero of his own script?

October 5
Doris & Bertie by Tiffa Foster
At her own funeral, Doris, a dead woman, discovers that the only person who can see her is, Bertie, her greatest and most formidable frenemy. Now faced with the prospect of going to hell for not doing enough good deeds in life, Doris attempts to save herself from an eternity of damnation by making Bertie’s life better and convincing her to open a wildly successful psychic/palm reading business.

October 6
Knifework by Michael D. Sharp
Knifework is semi autobiographical, based on a particularly troubled portion of the legal career of the author in the “shark pool” (Manhattan and Brooklyn courts). At its core it’s an indictment of the corruption, sexism, racism, homophobia, and power disparity of what could be any large metropolitan area. Richard Brewer the protagonist searches for the reason he is so miserable despite his stellar career as a trial lawyer.

October 7
A Hard Look by Elise Catera
A Hard Look is about a disillusioned journalist who goes on a crusade to rein in the patriarchy. She singles out her estranged father, a Machiavellian senator who furthers the corruption in D.C., to hold him accountable by strapping a bomb to herself and threatening to blow them both up if he doesn’t own up to his past. Along the way, she is helped and hindered by a group of fringe types with their own agenda, including an ex-boyfriend, a would be girlfriend, a nosy neighbor who compulsively lies, and a cook who leads the fugitives across the border to Mexico when the law comes down on them.

October 8
A Part of Our Lives by Ellis Charles Hoffmeister
Death permeates Holler Springs, a small Southern town, during the Summer of 2003. The wealthiest man in town has just died, and his son, Bo, has recently arrived home with a mysterious new wife, Cora. Cora’s arrival upends the secret relationship between her husband and his best friend Dirk – especially when the newlyweds try to convince Dirk to continue his now fractured relationship with Bo. But Dirk’s refusal to acquiesce to the desires of Bo and Cora, along with the arrival of a ghost from the past, lays bare long held secrets and reveals disturbing truths that threaten everyone’s future together in this small town.

October 9
Life? Or Theater? by Marie Pohl
Life, Or Theater? is based on the life and work of the young German-Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, who came of age under the Nazi regime in Germany. She defied incredible odds, ranging from political prosecution to a secret family curse, to create a timeless masterpiece that has remained unrivaled to this day and is considered the first graphic novel in art history.

October 11
John & Sherlock by Beth Jacobson
John and Sherlock is the story of two men isolated from the world. John has recently returned from the battlefield, wounded and haunted by the men he could not save. Unable to afford a place of his own, he agrees to share rooms with Sherlock, a brilliant detective, struggling to establish himself in his chosen profession. They are challenged by Anne, a young Irishwoman, to find her lost love. The case proves too much, even for Sherlock, and his failure throws him into despair. It is up to John to try to return Anne to her beloved and rescue Sherlock from his overwhelming sense of failure.

October 13
School’s Out by Richie V. Dang
A play about a teacher, a school, education, violence, and freedom during a year of crises from a global pandemic. Are all welcome and safe and free to learn in our schools? What do our educators, families, and students carry with them in their briefcases and backpacks everyday?

October 14
The Valley by Monica Stamas
For twenty years, Julia has kept secret that she abandoned her daughter and husband to lead a guerrilla campaign and nascent civil war. Her daughter’s unexpected arrival spoils the secret and Julia struggles with her daughter’s vitriol, intransigence and lack of understanding. The play uses the metaphor of war to examine the roots and consequences of intergenerational conflict.

October 15
Hyannis by Pat Golden
Hyannis exposes fault-lines in fiduciary and personal responsibilities when Aggie, a middle-class, African American woman, born in Hyannis, and Charles, a well-heeled, Caucasian banker from Hyannisport are forced to reconcile their common past. These characters must repair broken trust in a world that rewards its erosion.

COVID Policy: Proof of the vaccination is required to attend this event. Masks must be worn at all times during the event. Read our full COVID safety Protocols here.

Breaking Barriers is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, a regrant program supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC.

HB programs are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, public funds from the New York City Development of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and many generous supporters.


  • Time:
    Custom reoccurrence
    October 2, 2022 – October 15, 2022
    7:00 pm – 8:30 pm ET
  • Location: HB Playwrights Theatre, 124 Bank Street, New York, NY 10014