Thursday, April 16, 2015

PlayGround Festival Staged Reading Selections!

PlayGround has selected four bold new full-length plays by Bay Area playwrights to be developed and presented as public staged readings over two weekends, May 16-17 and May 23-24, as part of the 19th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at San Francisco’s Thick House. The plays are: Katie May’s A HISTORY OF FREAKS, Erin Marie Panttaja’s PREAPOCALYPTICA (a Planet Earth New Play Festival/PlayGround commission), Jonathan Spector’s FTW, and Ignacio Zulueta’s KANO + ABE (a 2013 PlayGround commission). The expanded PlayGround Festival includes more than 44 performances and readings over a six-week period, May 7-June 14, 2015, including the Festival Staged Readings, Best of PlayGround 19, and the world premieres of Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s Hella Love Oakland and Garret Jon Groenveld’s The Empty Nesters. All festival staged readings are free (suggested donation at the door) though advance reservations are recommended. Tickets, including All-Festival Passes starting at just $60, are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at

Over the past two decades, the PlayGround Festival has served as a launching pad for some of the Bay Area’s most significant new writers. And with the inclusion of new full-length plays in development in 2003, more than a dozen past festival selection have gone on to premiere at theatres in the Bay Area and around the country, including Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party by Aaron Loeb, Crevice by Lauren Yee, and Truffaldino Says No by Ken Slattery, with two more coming this spring  Hella Love Oakland by Robin Lynn Rodriguez and The Empty Nesters by Garret Jon Groenveld.


May 17 2pm and May 24 12pm
A History of Freaks by Katie May
Directed by Jim Kleinmann
A “runaway” clown returns from college to find the traveling circus and freak show he calls home on the verge of collapse. Does Joseph hold the key to their survival?

May 16 12pm and May 23 4pm
FTW by Jonathan Spector
Directed by Jessica Burgess Gallu
Three college friends agree to share a two-bedroom apartment in West Oakland and together face the challenges of the real world: finding a purpose, making rent, and the limits of sharing (“Did your boyfriend use my toothbrush??”).

May 17 11am and May 24 3pm
Kano + Abe by Ignacio Zulueta
Directed by Jeffrey Lo
Two Filipino brothers chase the American Dream – one through military service and naturalized citizenship, and the other as an undocumented worker, living under the radar. When desperation forces Kano and Abe back together under the roof of a live-in slumlord, brotherly love gets put to the test in this modern-day Daly City bible story.

May 16 3pm and May 23 1pm
Preapocalyptica by Erin Marie Panttaja
Directed by Katja Rivera
California has just one more year of water remaining. The oceans are quickly becoming depleted of fish. Global temperatures are rising. One family will try to face up to the coming crisis and, if they can, turn back the tide.


KATIE MAY’s (A History of Freaks) plays include Abominable (PlayGround Commission and semi-finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference),  Manic Pixie Dream Girl (fringeNYC, A.C.T. Costume Shop, San Francisco) Black Sheep Gospel (Great Plains Theater Conference), and A History of Freaks (Finalist David Mark Cohen Award), among others. Her short play Rapunzel’s Etymology of Zero (Best of Playground Festival, 2011) is being made into an animated short film scheduled for release in spring, 2015.  She’s the recipient of grants from the Virginia Piper Writing Center, the Society for Women in Film, and a PlayGround Emerging Writers Award. May holds an MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University.

ERIN MARIE PANTTAJA (Prepocalyptica) is in her third season as a member of the PlayGround Writers Pool. She received a Planet Earth New Play Festival commission to develop a new full-length play based on her short Preapocalyptica, to be workshopped this spring at University of California Berkeley and Stanford. Her plays have been produced at the Dublin Fringe Festival's Thread workshop and Mendocino College's New Works Festival and as part of Twisted Christmas Live.  She is also an engineer, designer, roboticist, and homemaker.

Jonathan Spector (FTW) is a playwright and director whose plays include In From the Cold, Adult Swim, FTW and Good, Better, Best, Bested. His work has been developed and produced with PlayGround, Just Theater, Aurora Theater, Playwrights Foundation, and the Source Theatre Festival. He's a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, a winner of Theatre Bay Area's TITAN award, and the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater.

Ignacio Zulueta (Kano + Abe) is a PlayGround Emerging Artist and Resident Playwright. His plays and radio plays have been featured in Ashland, New York, Kalamazoo, the Bay Area and KUSF and KPFA. Kano + Abe was commissioned and developed by PlayGround. He is the lead writer for the multi-acre site-specific event Matthew Briar and The Age of Resurrection at San Jose's History Park.


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, PlayGround Festival of New Works, Best of PlayGround, 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 700 original short plays and 55 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 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, 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: PlayGround Festival of New Works Staged Readings, featuring four bold new plays by Bay Area playwrights, each presented twice over two weekends. This year’s selections include: A HISTORY OF FREAKS by Katie May; PREAPOCALYPTICA by Erin Marie Panttaja; FTW by Jonathan Spector; and KANO + ABE by Ignacio Zulueta.

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

WHEN: May 16-17 and May 23-24, 2015.

Date                Time         Event              Play                         Playwright
5/16/2015      12:00PM  Reading #1   FTW                         Jonathan Spector
5/16/2015      3:00PM    Reading #2   Preapocalyptica    Erin Marie Panttaja
5/17/2015      11:00AM  Reading #3   Kano and Abe       Ignacio Zulueta
5/17/2015      2:00PM    Reading #4   A History of Freaks        Katie May
5/23/2015      1:00PM    Reading #5   Preapocalyptica    Erin Marie Panttaja
5/23/2015      4:00PM    Reading #6   FTW                         Jonathan Spector
5/24/2015      12:00PM  Reading #7   A History of Freaks        Katie May
5/24/2015      3:00PM    Reading #8   Kano and Abe       Ignacio Zulueta

TICKETS: All festival staged readings are free and open to the public (suggested donation at the door). All-Festival Passes, which include reserved seating for all festival events, start at just $60. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit


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