Friday, October 18, 2013

PlayGround Announces Barbara Oliver Tribute Lineup

Ready for a Wild(er) Time? PlayGround announced the selected plays and playwrights this morning for the MondayNight PlayGround season opener and tribute to the late Barbara Oliver, taking place at 8pm, Monday, October 21 at Berkeley Repertory TheatreIn cooperation with the Oliver family and reflecting Barbara’s passion for the works of Thorton Wilder, PlayGround announced the topic (“THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH”) last Friday and PlayGround writers had just four days to prepare their original short scripts.  Tickets and discount season subscriptions can be purchased online at

The selected plays and playwrights are:
Writing Retreat by Patricia Cotter, directed by Joy Carlin
Mr. Wong's Goes to Washington by Ruben Grijalva, directed by Jim Kleinmann
Young Ones Pull Through by Leah Halper, directed by Ginny Reed
Tragedy: A Comedy by Colin Johnson, directed by Soren Oliver
Blown by Martha Soukup, directed by Susi Damilano
God and Absurdity by Tom Swift, directed by Rebecca Ennals

Barbara Oliver joined the PlayGround Company and began directing for PlayGround in 2004, shortly after stepping down as Founding Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre Company. In 2006, she joined the PlayGround Board of Directors where she served until her death. Though perhaps best known in the Bay Area for her chamber productions of the works of George Bernard Shaw and other classic playwrights, she seemed most energized around new plays and the chance to collaborate with living playwrights and, over nine years with PlayGround, collaborated on more than twenty projects through the Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, Best of PlayGround Festival and PlayGround commissioning program. In that time, she had the opportunity to partner with some of the Bay Area’s best new playwrights on their short and full-length work, including Kenn Rabin, Aaron Loeb, Geetha Reddy, Daniel Heath, Katie May, Evelyn Jean Pine and Tim Bauer.  As a board member, she was a passionate and outspoken advocate for PlayGround’s emerging artists and staunch champion and protector of PlayGround’s mission. She left an indelible mark on PlayGround and on all with whom she collaborated this past decade.

PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm, featuring A. Tappan Wilder (Thorton Wilder’s nephew), Soren Oliver (Barbara’s son) and selected playwrights.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 185 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 650 original short plays and 48 new full-length plays, with 3 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit
WHAT:          Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  The given topic for the October 21  PlayGround season opener and Barbara Oliver Tribute is “THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH.

WHERE:       Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2025 Addison St
Berkeley, CA

WHEN:          Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8pm
                        Additional Season Dates:
                        November 18, 2013 – Musical Theatre Night
                        December 16, 2013 – Holiday Extravaganza
                        January 13, 2014
                        February 17, 2014 – Math Night
                        March 17, 2014

TICKETS:     $15, available online or at the door.  Pay-What-You-Can at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability.  Introductory subscriptions are just $60 (50% off priority seating).  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit


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