Add some drama to your life. Local play readings offer an entertaining—and economical—night out. Don’t expect a polished show with costumes and sets, but the actors do rehearse, and the price is right. These monthly series are free:
• Page2Stage, sponsored by the Des Moines Social Club, presents great plays—classics and new works—at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at Java Joe’s Fourth Street Theatre. Nov. 18: Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour,” about a pair of girls’ boarding-school headmistresses falsely accused of having a lesbian affair. When the play debuted on Broadway in 1934, any mention of homosexuality on stage was illegal in New York state. The now-classic play initially was banned in Chicago, Boston and London.
• Scriptease from StageWest Theater Company features new and experimental plays at 7 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at First Unitarian Church. Oct. 29: “Motherhood Out Loud,” a nontraditional take on the world’s most demanding, unpaid job, offering funny, moving and unexpected reflections from celebrated American writers.
• The Play Reading Series from Des Moines Community Playhouse offers an eclectic mix, including scripts considered for production and promising new works. The readings are at 7 p.m., generally on the first Monday of each month (with exceptions, including next month), on the new stage in the theater’s upper lobby. Nov. 11: “Tribes” by Nina Raine, a moving story about the close-knit deaf community and winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.