Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... In our most competitive voting yet, with $479 in donations tallied for the six short plays presented at last night's Monday Night PlayGround "Math Night" at Berkeley Rep, the February People's Choice Award goes to PlayGround writer William Bivins for his original short play, Symmetrical Smack-Down. Congratulations, Bill!

Courtesy of Mr. Bivins, we're pleased to share the first two pages from the award-winning script.  Enjoy!



Symmetrical Smack-Down
by William Bivins

Cast Breakdown:
Napalm – Male, 20s-30s. any race. Professional wrestler.
El Chupacabro – Male, 50s, any race, but with preference for Latino. Professional wrestler.
Raquel – Female, 20s, any race, but with preference for Latina. Sports writer; El Chupacabro's daughter.
Marion – Female, 40s-50s, any race. Reference librarian.

Setting:
A cafe table and two chairs.

The DING of a bell, as in a wrestling match. Napalm and El Chupacabro enter, stand at either end of the stage facing the audience. They are dressed in the costumes of professional wrestlers and are full of bluster.

NAPALM
I am Napalm, the fire-bomber. I leave behind me a wake of devastation. El Chupacabro is my sworn enemy. Today I will OBLITERATE HIM!

EL CHUPACABRO
I am El Chupacabro. Destroyer of men. Inflicter of pain. Napalm is my sworn enemy. Today he will TASTE MY WRATH!

DING. Marion and Raquel enter, stand on either side of the table and chairs, facing the audience.

RAQUEL
(To audience.) I’m Raquel. I am a sports writer and daughter of a professional wrestler. Marion is my
girlfriend of three years. Today I will find out if she’s willing to fight for me.

MARION
(To audience.) I am Marion. I’m a reference librarian. Do not laugh. Today I am angry with Raquel for reasons I’d rather not discuss.

DING. The two women sit at the table across from each other.

MARION
Your hair could use some attention.

RAQUEL
You got something you want to say to me?

MARION
Why would you think I have anything to say to you?

RAQUEL
You've been crabby all morning.

MARION
Have I? I haven’t noticed. Where is the waiter? The service here is abysmal.

RAQUEL
Let’s pretend we’re breaking up.

MARION
You want to break up?

RAQUEL
I want to pretend to break up. Kind of a game.

MARION
Okay. You start.

RAQUEL
Marion, I’m breaking up with you.

MARION
How do I react?

RAQUEL
I don’t know. Shock, anger, indifference.

MARION
I choose indifference.

RAQUEL
You do?

MARION
We’re just pretending, aren’t we?

RAQUEL
Yeah, but why indifference?

MARION
What happens next?

RAQUEL
You ask me why I’m breaking up with you.

MARION
Why are you breaking up with me?

DING. The two women freeze. The two fighters face off with each other.

_______

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround at Berkeley Rep on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 8pm and choose your own favorite! For more info, click here.
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

January People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The January People's Choice Award goes to PlayGround writer Tracy Held Potter for her original short musical, A Mother's Seduction, with music by Don Seaver, presented as a staged reading at the January 21 Monday Night PlayGround "Musical Theatre Night" at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Tracy!

Courtesy of Ms. Potter, we're pleased to share the first two pages from the award-winning script.  Enjoy!



A MOTHER’S SEDUCTION
by Tracy Held Potter

CHARACTERS
Sally – Female – Age 30 – Any Race – A sleep‐deprived mother.
Sleep – Male – Any Age – Any Race – Mysterious, seductive, and serious.
Chores – Male – Any Age – Any Race – Wily, determined, and a bit sassy.
Baby Bella – The 3‐month‐old baby can be a doll or similar, but she sure does cry a lot!

SETTING
A bedroom, into the dark hours of the night.

NOTES
All the dialogue in caps are meant to be sung. The crying could be “live” or an instrument, or a combination.

(SALLY sings lullabies to her baby as she tries to rock her to sleep. SHE is wearing a pretty nightgown that makes nursing convenient. SALLY is exhausted from repeating this routine several times a night for the past three months. The sleep deficit that she has accumulated has taken its toll on her sanity. BABY BELLA cries.)

SALLY
Shh … shh …  (BELLA cries out loudly.)

SALLY
Shhh!!!! Just go to sleep already!  (BABY pauses and then cries more.)

SALLY
Oh, I’m sorry, Baby Bell! I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean it, Bella Belly … there, there. I’m so tired. Just go to sleep, so I can finally rest, too. Okay?  (SHE paces, trying more lullabies, and yet nothing will end the crying. She trips over a pillow and is near the brink of tears. SLEEP appears, humming a lullaby and beginning his seduction.)

SLEEP
COME TO BED AND CLOSE YOUR EYES. MELT INTO THE NIGHT’S DISGUISE, SLUMBER IS YOUR SWEET SURPRISE. GIVE IN TO MY LULLABIES.  (Though Sleep is singing to Sally, BELLA is lulled to sleep.)

SALLY
OH, YOU FAIL TO REALIZE I AM BOUND BY MOTHERS’ TIES. TEMPTING ME WITH WISTFUL LIES … WHAT IF BABY BELLA CRIES?

SLEEP
JUST TRUST ME, SHE WON’T, MY DEAR SEE, THERE’S NOT A THING TO FEAR. COME CLOSE, YOUR SOFT BED IS NEAR BECKONING, A PERCH RIGHT HERE.

SALLY
I NURSE, BURP, WIPE EVERY DAY. ALL NIGHT, I ROCK, SING AND SWAY. THREE MONTHS SINCE YOU’VE BEEN AWAY. HOW CAN I TRUST WHAT YOU SAY?

SLEEP
HONOR BY THE MOONLIGHT, I SWEAR. BELIEVE IN THE WARM QUILT RIGHT THERE. CONFIDING IN THE COOL NIGHT’S AIR, ON JOURNEY TO MY RESTFUL LAIR.  (SALLY yawns and slowly rests with her baby on the pillow.)

SALLY
JUST FOR A MOMENT OR TWO I STILL HAVE SO MUCH TO DO  (SLEEP cradles SALLY, who in turn cradles BABY BELLA.)

SLEEP
REST AND REGAIN STRENGTH ANEW. EIGHT HOURS WILL CARRY YOU THROUGH.  (CHORES bursts in, as SALLY dozes.)

CHORES
Eight hours?! He did not just say that. Sally, wake up!

SALLY
Huh?

CHORES
The baby’s asleep! Now you can do all the things you couldn’t do while she was awake!


_______

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround at Berkeley Rep on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 8pm and choose your own favorite! For more info, click here.
 
 

Friday, February 01, 2013

PlayGround Announces 2013 Gala Honorees!

PlayGround has just announced the line-up for this year’s Gala fundraiser on Monday, April 1 at American Conservatory Theater: 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Honoree), Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Artistic Director and former A.C.T. core company member Steven Anthony Jones (Master of Ceremonies) and Director Jonathan Moscone (Honorary Chair). The evening features an onstage conversation with Nottage and Jones, a reception and silent auction, seated dinner, and presentation of the 2013 PlayGround Emerging Playwright Awards, June Anne Baker Prize and Fellowship. The Host Committee for this year’s gala includes past honorees Amy Freed, Philip Kan Gotanda, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Bruce Norris, Carey Perloff, Octavio Solis and Tony Taccone. Honorary Committee members include: Joy & Jerry Carlin; Daniel E. Cohn & Lynn Brinton; Delia Ehrlich; Carole & Ted Krumland; Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston; Marjorie Randolph; Patti & Rusty Rueff; Jean & Michael Strunsky; and Deborah Taylor. Tickets: http://playground-sf.org/benefit.

Lynn Nottage’s new play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination).  It can be seen this upcoming season at Lyric Stage and Goodman Theatre.  Her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre (OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play).  It subsequently toured widely throughout US regional theatres, including a production at Berkeley Rep in 2011, and premiered internationally at the Almeida Theatre in London. The play has since been produced in countries throughout the world, including Cambodia, Chad, The Caribbean, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany.  Her other plays include Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF!. 

Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), Helen Hayes Award (Ruined), the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama, as well as fellowships from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She is a co-founder and producer at Market Road Films LLC, a film production company. http://www.lynnnottage.com 

Steven Anthony Jones has worked professionally on stage, television and film. He is Artistic Director at San Francisco's Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. For 22 years, he was a core company actor at American Conservatory Theater where he acted, directed and taught. In 1981, he originated the role of Private Wilkie in A Soldier's Play at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. 

All proceeds benefit PlayGround and its award-winning new play incubator programs. Since 1994, PlayGround has nurtured more than 185 Bay Area playwrights, supporting the development of over 650 original short plays and 48 new full-length plays. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win both local and national honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, and Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, among others; PlayGround’s latest co-production, Katie May’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl, is running at the A.C.T. Costume Shop through February 17, supported in part through funds from the 2012 Gala. This event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists. 

Event:             2013 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night with Lynn Nottage, Steven Anthony Jones, and Jonathan Moscone

Date/Time:      Monday, April 1, 2013 / 6:00pm-9:30pm

Location:         American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA

Tickets:          Host Table of 10 - $10,000
Premium* Table of 10 - $5,000
Benefit Table of 10 - $3,000
Host Individual Ticket - $1,000
Premium* Individual Ticket - $500
Benefit Individual Ticket - $300
* Premium tables and premium individual tickets include priority seating
nearest our guests-of-honor and listing as part of the benefit honorary committee.

For more information, call (415) 992-6677, or visit www.playground-sf.org/benefit

2013 Young Playwrights Project and Contest

Do you know any theatrically-inclined high school students or educators?

PlayGround is thrilled to announce the launch of its 2013 Young Playwrights Project and Contest. We will invite aspiring writers at the high school level to write and submit their own 10-minute plays based on an assigned topic to be announced in March. Four selected plays will receive staged readings concurrent with this year’s Best of PlayGround Festival.  This is a tremendous opportunity for creatively-inclined high school students to try their hand at writing in the ten-minute form with the possibility of seeing their work realized by Bay Area theatre professionals. "Through the Young Playwrights Project, PlayGround and Bay Area high schools partner to enable young writers to find their own expressive voice through the creation, development, and production of short plays," added Jim Kleinmann, PlayGround Artistic Director.

As part of the Young Playwrights Project, PlayGround is also offering to Bay Area high schools a limited number of free and subsidized master classes with distinguished PlayGround alumni.  Single and multi-session classes will introduce budding dramatists to the ten-minute form and style and can include a wide range of playwriting topics and perspectives. This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the form and ask questions before diving into the process themselves.

Spearheading the project this year is Celine Delcayre in her new position as PlayGround’s Education Coordinator. Parents and teachers of Bay Area high school students are encouraged to email Celine at celine@playground-sf.org for more information or questions about the project, or to apply for free and/or subsidized classes with PlayGround artists.

Contest Details

The topic will be announced on Friday, March 8. Students who submit by the preliminary deadline of Monday, March 18 will receive a complimentary ticket to the March Monday Night PlayGround at Berkeley Rep. The FINAL DEADLINE for submissions is Monday, April 1. Finalists will be announced by Monday, April 15 and performance dates for the selected plays are Thursday, May 16-Sunday, May 19. Students are invited to submit original, ten-minute plays (maximum ten pages) inspired by the topic and originated on or after March 8, 2013. Submissions from female writers and writers of color are encouraged. More information and submission guidelines will be available soon at http://www.playground-sf.org/youngplaywrights/.

PlayGround Company in the News Feb-13

Read on to learn more about PlayGround Company Members' recent news, current happenings, and upcoming events.

Katie May's MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, featuring PlayGround company member Michael Barrett Austin and directed by Jon Tracy, has been extended through Feb 17th. For tickets and more info, visit http://www.manicpixiedreamgirl.org/

Geetha Reddy's PlayGround commission BLUE GOD COUNTDOWN has a reading with the Crowded Fire Matchbox series on Feb 4th at 7pm at Thick House (http://www.crowdedfire.org/).

Lauren Yee and Encore Theatre just received a Gerbode Foundation Playwright Commissioning Award of $50,000 to commission and premiere a new play. Lauren's play CHING CHONG CHINAMAN is now running at City Lights Theatre Company in San Jose until February 24. Her newest play, THE TIGER AMONG US, is also running at Mu Performing Arts in Minneapolis until February 10.

Danielle Levin will be playing Emma in THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE at Symmetry Theatre. It will also be performing at the Berkeley City Club in April with fellow company members Elena Wright, Gabriel Grilli, and Stacy Ross.

Ignacio Zulueta and Kirk Shimano will be writing for "The Showdown", the season kickoff event for Wily West Productions. Eight playwrights were given six days to write on a topic and the best play will be decided by audience vote! There's one performance on Feb 7th at 7:30pm at the Bindlestiff Studios in SF. Details at http://www.wilywestproductions.com/

Julia McNeal will be teaching a class on Playing Multiple Characters for solo performers (or anyone who wants to learn nuances that work) at the Marsh Theatre, 4 Sundays in March. To sign up, call the Marsh or go to their website: www.themarsh.org/

Barbara Oliver will be directing two short plays for the Writers with Attitude program at the Throckmorton in Mill Valley in mid-Feb.

Molly Noble directed PACK OF LIES at RVP, which closes Feb 17th. TIL YOU KNOW MY STORY goes up Feb 23rd in San Quentin as part of a documentary about restorative justice. She will also be acting in SF Playhouse's Sandbox in Jordan Puckett's play INEVITABLE, directed by Lauren English in March.

Mary Baird will be working with Joe Christiano on a round reading of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS and a one-woman show about a local critic. Both projects will be performed at Shotgun in March.

Ken Slattery's  play TRUFFALDINO SAYS NO has been published by Playscripts. Follow the link below for more info:  http://www.playscripts.com/play.php3?playid=2503.

M. Graham Smith will be directing the staged play reading of LUCE by J.C. Lee as part of the GAP festival at Aurora Theatre Company on Feb 18th. Anthony Williams will be playing the title role of LUCE for this production.

Aaron Wilton will be in San Jose Stage Company's production of RED which runs from Feb 6th - Mar 3rd. http://www.thestage.org

Karen Macklin's 5-minute play PINK ROSES will be in the Valentines Day Shotz festival on Feb 14th at 8pm at Bindlestiff Theatre, tickets are $7.

Julia Brothers is appearing in Anthony Clarvoe's OUR PRACTICAL HEAVEN at Aurora Theatre Company through March 3rd.

Founding PlayGround writer Garret Jon Groenveld has a continued production of his play, THE HUMMINGBIRDS, in various theatres around Bucharest, Romania, and will add a second production in Mexico City, Mexico to run through the month of March at Lab Treces and produced by Serres Communes. Presentations are being scheduled in German at the Tik Nord Theatre in Berlin and in Dutch at a theatre in the Netherlands. Further, his piece LONG DISTANCE AFFAIR performs at the Gershwin Hotel in NY every Tues and Thurs in Feb. For more info: http://www.popuptheatrics.com/

Cindy Goldfield is AD on TARTUFFE at ACT for the 2nd year MFA students under the helm of Giles Havergal and is prepping to go to NY to star in D'Arcy Drollinger and Chris Winslow's new musical MR. IRRESISTIBLE at LaMama in March and April.

Erin Bregman will be part of the showcase reading (Inkwell) and workshop reading (Avalanche Theatre Company) of PlayGround commission A BID TO SAVE THE WORLD.

Louis Parnell will be appearing in the 3GirlsTheatre production of THE COUCH by Lynne Kaufman, directed by Amy Glazer at 533 Sutter Street in March.

Ignacio Zulueta is monologue-slamming for charity and the TBA Mary Mason Lemonade Fund at Write Club SF's Valentines Day episode on Feb 15th at The Make Out Room.