Wednesday, April 02, 2014


PlayGround caps off its 2013-14 season with Best of PlayGround 18, featuring five fully-produced ten-minute plays and a musical selected from the 36 works developed as part of the season’s Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Monday Night PlayGround has engaged and inspired a growing and enthusiastic audience with new plays and musicals inspired by a single topic each month, including “The Skin of Our Teeth”, “California Dreamin”, and, as part of a unique annual collaboration with Berkeley’s Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, “A Passion for Primes”. Individual tickets are $25-$55 and All-Festival Passes (including priority seating tickets to all festival activities) start at $60. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at

The five plays and one musical to be presented at this year’s festival are:
The Broken-Tooth Comb by William Bivins, directed by Katja Rivera
When You Talk About This by Patricia Cotter, directed by Tracy Ward
Riding Dragons by Victoria Chong Der, directed by Nancy Carlin
Mr. Wong's Goes to Washington by Ruben Grijalva, directed by M. Graham Smith
Stranger in a Stranger Land by Karen Macklin, directed by Michael French
Love Spacewalked In by Maury Zeff, directed by Jim Kleinmann

This year’s Best of PlayGround ensemble includes: Rinabeth Apostol, Stacy Ross, Adam Roy, Teddy Spencer, Howard Swain, and Jomar Tagatac. Best of PlayGround finalists include: Rachel Bublitz for Mom's Ham and Steven Westdahl for If All the World's a Stage, Where's the Audition.

About the Plays:

The Broken-Tooth Comb by William Bivins
How far apart can a pair be and still be together? Inspired by the true-life story of mathematician Yitang Zhang and his proof of the twin primes conjecture.

When You Talk About This by Patricia Cotter
A student/teacher conference takes a turn that neither student nor teacher quite expects.

Riding Dragons by Victoria Chong Der
A mother-daughter school interview deteriorates quickly as secrets are revealed.

Mr. Wong’s Goes to Washington by Ruben Grijalva
In Washington D.C., no issue is too small to provoke partisan bickering.

Stranger in a Stranger Land by Karen Macklin
A New York City transplant realizes she has entered uncharted—and somewhat disturbing—territory when she starts looking for love in San Francisco.

Love Spacewalked In by Maury Zeff
Finally, the zero gravity musical of cross-cultural love, moon dust, and faulty plumbing that the world has been clamoring for! Inspired by and featuring the Gershwins’ Love Walked In.

About the Playwrights:

William Bivins (The Broken-Tooth Comb) is an award-winning playwright whose full-length productions include The Education of a Rake, The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry, The Position, and Pulp Scripture, among others. He has won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, the Hyperion Project Original Play Competition, and numerous SF Fringe Awards.

Patricia Cotter (When You Talk About This) is a freelance writer and writing teacher. She has an Emmy Award for her comedy writing, the Richard Rodgers Award for her musical Rocket Science and is twice winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for her musical, The Break Up Notebook. Patricia is a Groundling Theatre alum. 

Victoria Chong Der (Riding Dragons) has a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College. Her work has been produced nationally. She is currently working on a short piece for All Terrain Theater and a one act for the SF Olympians Festival. She is also a member of the NewWorks Incubator Program at the Asian American Theater Company.

Ruben Grijalva (Mr. Wong’s Goes to Washington) earned his BA in Cinema from SFSU and helped start the fitness-entertainment company Virtual Active. Works include the award-winning short film Shadow Ball (2007), the full-length play Foresight (2010), and the short play Value Over Replacement, which featured in the Best of Playground 2013.

Karen Macklin’s (Stranger in a Stranger Land) plays have had readings or productions at Actors Theatre SF, Eureka Theatre, SF Playhouse, and PlayGround. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from SF State, and has been a BAPF finalist. She is also a widely published journalist, and a local yoga teacher. Visit

Maury Zeff (Love Spacewalked In) has an MFA from the University of San Francisco and was an SF Writers’ Grotto Fellow. His plays have won a PlayGround People’s Choice Award and been semifinalists for the Vittum Prize and in the Indie Boots Festival. His fiction has appeared in American Fiction 2012, Southern California Review, and Switchback.

About PlayGround:
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 Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported nearly 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 680 original short plays and 50 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  More information at

WHAT:           Best of PlayGround 18, featuring the best short plays/musical by the Bay Area’s best new writers. Includes works by William Bivins, Patricia Cotter, Victoria Chong Der, Ruben Grijalva, Karen Macklin and Maury Zeff.

WHERE:         Thick House
1695 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

WHEN:           May 8-25, 2014; Thu-Sat at 8pm / Sun at 7pm.
                        Press Night: May 9
                        Opening Night: May 10
                        Young Playwrights Contest Performances: May 15-18, 2014
                        Pay-What-You-Can: Thursdays, May 8, 15, and 22

TICKETS:       $25-$55. Pay-What-You-Can Thursdays at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability. All-Festival Passes start at just $60. For more information about the Best of PlayGround, call (415) 992-6677 or visit


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