Kate O'Reilly Credit: Courtesy of International Voices Project

The International Voices Project offers a glimpse at the world stage, presenting concert-style readings of eight plays from just as many countries. Each script is performed in English, though only one—The Almond and the Seahorse (see below)—started out that way. In the spirit of international dialogue, a talk-back with the cast follows each show.

This year’s IVP opens with a dark Swiss comedy, Reto Finger’s Dog Paddle, in which breaking up turns out to be really, really hard to do (Thu 3/7). In the Italian entry, Marco Martinelli’s Noise in the Water, we hear the inmost thoughts of a military bureaucrat tasked with keeping a tally of the Africans who’ve died trying to cross the Mediterranean into Italy (Fri 3/8). French playwright Gabriella Maione hopes her 9/11-inspired lamentation, Symptômes, “can transcend boundaries of prejudice and misunderstanding in these troubled times” (Sat 3/9). Ahmed Hassan Al-Banna’s In Search of Said Abu Al-Naga deals with the second thoughts of a police officer who killed protesters during Egypt’s 2011 revolution (Sun 3/10).

The second weekend kicks off with The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, a work by Quebecois writer Carole Frechette, about a woman who “finds herself irresistibly drawn to a mysterious and forbidden room” (Thu 3/14). Something is rotten in the state of Austria when a brother and sister reconnect with old friends in Ewald Palmetshofer’s Hamlet Is Dead. No Gravity (Fri 3/15). The problem of young artists who can’t pay the rent is apparently international; Brazilian playwright Felipe Sant’Angelo addresses it in Artsy, A Hipster Farce (Sat 3/16). And closing out the festival is the Welsh import, Kate O’Reilly‘s The Almond and the Seahorse, which looks at the consequences of a traumatic brain injury (Sun 3/17).