EvanKrachmanTopShrewbury playwright Evan Krachman debuts a new drama in  as The Count Basie Performing Arts Academy is the scene for a Halloween reading of PRESS TO TALK, presented by the Asbury Park-based Black Box collective.

Since taking over the Monmouth Street space formerly occupied by Phoenix Productions, the Count Basie Theatre’s Performing Arts Academy has put the onetime Red Bank WaWa store to multi-tasking use. That includes an arrangement with the Black Box Asbury Park collective that’s seen the “multi-cultural arts incubator” presenting such original theatrical works as the recent Toms River Anthology by Black Box board member (and Middletown High School South teacher) Alexis Kozak.

This Saturday afternoon, and for one Halloween matinee only, the academy hosts the collective in a staged reading of the new drama by a playwright from the Greater Red Bank Green: Press to Talk. by Evan Krachman.

In the script from the Shrewsbury resident (and veteran volunteer with the arts programs at Red Bank Regional High School), Max Laufer buys his daughter the world’s first talking Barbie, a brand-new toy that combines 21st century artificial intelligence with the power of the internet. But things move to another level when the Laufers, who are trying to cope with a death in the family, are visited by a mysterious woman from the “toy company” who’s intent on learning why Barbie is not behaving like Barbie.

“This is not my typical play, where I get the audience tied up in a miraculous technical achievement,” says Krachman, a patent-holding marketing professional in the medical technology field. “We see this story unfold through the eyes of a young girl whose life is turned upside down by loss. She uses her incredible intellect and heart to control her toy and make us feel and see the promise of the future. While the story is fictional, the talking Barbie is real.”

Admission to the 4 pm reading of Press to Talk is free of charge, and no reservations are required. Take it here for more information.