Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015-16 PlayGround Submission Guidelines

Applications for the 2015-16 PlayGround Writers Pool are being accepted, now through July 31, 2015. Only members of the Writers Pool may submit scripts as part of the monthly staged reading series, Monday Night PlayGround, and from which are selected the six plays and playwrights for each year's Best of PlayGround Festival. For specific eligibility requirements and responsibilities, see below or visit http://playground-sf.org/submit.

To be eligible, writers must reside within the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. To apply for a place in the 2015-16 writers pool, playwrights must submit a maximum ten-page double-spaced script (previously produced and unproduced scripts eligible) via email to scripts<at>playground-sf.org as Portable Document Format (.pdf) attachment. Applications must be received by Midnight Friday, July 31, 2015. The script must have the playwright's name, address, email and phone number at the top of the first page of the script and all pages must be numbered. Excerpts from longer works are not accepted but short plays that meet the above requirements and are derived from a longer work are accepted. Writers featured in a Best of PlayGround Festival since 2011 need not submit a script but must send an email confirming interest in being in the pool by the deadline. Women and playwrights of color encouraged to apply.

To view sample script formats, click the link(s) below. 
Submission Format #1 
Submission Format #2


Selected writers must attend a mandatory company meeting at 7pm on Monday, August 31 at the PlayGround PlaySpace in Berkeley. The 2015-16 PlayGround Writers Pool and Resident Playwrights will be publicly announced at the PlayGround Season Kick-Off/Alumni Celebration on Monday evening, September 21, 2015. Writers Pool members must commit to submitting for at least five of the six Monday Night PlayGrounds in any season, Oct-Mar. The submission of a script to Monday Night PlayGround grants PlayGround the exclusive option to stage the play as part of the Monday Night PlayGround and, should it be so selected, to present the world premiere as part of The Best of PlayGround Festival and publish the script in the "Best of PlayGround" anthology. Upon publication, PlayGround serves as the exclusive licensor for English language stock and amateur rights in the U.S. and Canada.

For any questions not answered above, email to info<at>playground-sf.org.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Best of PlayGround 19 Review by Keith Davis

Best of PlayGround 19 is happening right now at The Thick House in San Francisco until June 14, 2015 and the evening is full of inventive storytelling, excellent acting and original writing.

Six plays run the gamut from introspective to bawdy.

‘Reading Babar’ in 2070 by Rachel Bublitz, directed by Rebecca Ennals tells the story of a future facing extinction, while ‘Preapocalyptica’ by Erin Marie Panttaja, directed by Katja Rivera is a glimpse to our very real danger of drought.

‘Frankenstein's Grandmother’ by Steven Westdahl, directed by Tracy Ward envisions the 'bet' that caused the creation of a monster, while ‘Art and Tech’ by Kirk Shimano, directed by Jon Tracy sees the creation and collapse of a relationship.

‘Someone’ by Genne Murphy, directed by Jeffrey Lo
is a powerful meditation on a found and lost childhood. Finally, ‘Cratchit’ by Davern Wright, directed by Jim Kleinmann is a wildly funny take on the tired Chistmas Carol story. 

All in all, the evenings offering's are entertaining and impactful. Well worth the trip to see original, thought-provoking and clever theater.

Keith Davis
Ragged Wing Ensemble
Core Company Director

Best of PlayGround 19 runs through Sunday, May 24 at Thick House. http://playground-sf.org/bestof

Friday, May 15, 2015

PlayGround Festival Master Classes!

PlayGround has added two Playwriting Master Classes to this year's PlayGround Festival lineup, each led by a Bay Area master teacher: "The Playwright's Process" with Lauren Gunderson (6/1) and "Career Planning for Playwrights" with Anthony Clarvoe (6/8). Both classes will take place 7pm-9pm at Thick House, 1695 18th Street (between Carolina and Arkansas Streets), San Francisco. Registration is $20 per class, $30 for the 2-class package and is automatically included with the purchase of an All-Festival Pass. For more information, visit htttp://playground-sf.org/classes.

Monday, June 1, 7pm-9pm
"The Playwright's Process" with Lauren Gunderson
How do you take your shiny new idea and commit it to the page? How you get to the end? How do you collaborate with directors and designers and actors? Lauren explores how to get it done.

To register, visit http://playground-sf.org/register.

Monday, June 8, 7pm-9pm
"Career Planning for Playwrights" with Anthony Clarvoe
How to organize and order your activities, both tactical and strategic, to set and work toward your artistic goals.

To register, visit http://playground-sf.org/register.

About the Faculty

Anthony Clarvoe has received American Theatre Critics, Will Glickman, Bay Area Theatre Critics, LA Drama Critics, Elliot Norton, and Edgerton New American Play awards; fellowships from the Guggenheim, Irvine, Jerome, and McKnight Foundations, NEA, TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts, and Kennedy Center; commissions from South Coast Rep, Mark Taper Forum, and Playwrights Horizons; and the Berrilla Kerr Award for his contributions to American theater. Productions include Pick Up Ax (South Coast Rep, San Jose Rep), The Living (Denver Center), Let’s Play Two (South Coast Rep), Ambition Facing West (Trinity Rep, Theatreworks), Ctrl+Alt+Delete (San Jose Rep, George St. Playhouse), The Brothers Karamazov (Cincinnati Playhouse, Circle X), Show and Tell (Rep Theatre of St. Louis), and Our Practical Heaven (Aurora Theatre).  His plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.  The Art of Sacrifice was published last year by Random House in the anthology Plays for Two. Anthony is a regular instructor at Playground, Stagebridge,and the Playwrights Foundation.

An award-winning playwright living in San Francisco, Lauren Gunderson has been produced and developed at companies across the US, including Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, Impact Theatre, Magic Theatre, SF Playhouse, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Rep, the O’Neill, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Express Theatre in Atlanta, and Second Stage Theatre and Lark Play Development Center in New York City. She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation. Lauren is recipient of the 2014 Steinberg ATCA New Play Award for I AND YOU, which was also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. LaurenGunderson.com

Friday, May 08, 2015

PlayGround Company in the News May-15

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

Apparently the well-known women's bathroom icon had a secret. That triangle dress was never really a dress at all. It was a superhero cape, and we’ve been looking at her back all this time. Now that her identity is blown, she'll use her superpowers to take on one of the most heated issues in technology today: the underrepresentation of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematic) fields. The brainchild of Axosoft’s Tania Katan, the new graphic leads the charge for the company's #ItWasNeverADress campaign, which just launched Thursday at the Girls In Tech conference in Phoenix, AZ. http://www.cnn.com/videos/tech/2015/05/05/it-was-never-a-dress-tania-katan-axosoft.cnn

Michael Barrett Austin is loving being a part of Best of PlayGround 19 and cannot wait to open the show this week! The other members of the Best of PlayGround ensemble include: Jomar Tagatac, Michael Phillis, Melissa Ortiz, Stephanie Prentice, Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer, and Millie DeBenedet. http://playground-sf.org/bestof

Lisa Morse, Lizzie Calogero and Safiya Fredericks are in rehearsal for Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s HELLA LOVE OAKLAND, directed by Rebecca Novick, and beginning previews May 11 at Thick House as part of the 19th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works. http://playground-sf.org/hellaloveoakland

Teddy Spencer is currently playing Buddy in the staged reading of TALLEY & SON at the Aurora Theatre Company, through May 18th. After T&S, Teddy begins rehearsal for the World Premiere of WILL SHAKESPEARE'S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (ABRIDGED), a co-production between the Napa Valley & Notre Dame Shakespeare Festivals, written and directed by Reed Martin and Austin Tinchenor.

Colin Johnson’s evening of short plays, The Creative Process, will be produced by Theatre Pub May 16,17,25 and 26 at Pianofight. He is writing a piece for Shotz SF: The Chekhov Variations on Wednesday May 13 at Pianofight. Full screening for his original full-length web series, MERRITT SQUAD, is Friday May 29 at, wait for it, Pianofight!

Katja Rivera is directing Erin Marie Panttaja's PREAPOCALYPTICA  for Best Of PlayGround, as well as directing the full-length version for the PlayGround Festival staged reading series. She recently directed staged readings of the full-length for the Planet Earth New Play Festival at Stanford and UC Berkeley, April 22-May 1.

In Andrew Saito's new play, Mount Misery: A Comedy of Enhanced Interrogations, Donald Rumsfeld engages in a battle of wits with Frederick Douglass on his vacation home, formerly a plantation.  Mount Misery opens this Friday, May 8, at The Cutting Ball Theater, and runs through June 7.  http://cuttingball.com/events/0607risk/mount-misery/

Gwen Loeb is starting rehearsals for the Nurse in ROMEO AND JULIET with SF Shakes.

Louis Parnell will be directing MOMENTS OF TRUTH, a new musical by Patricia Milton and Caroline Altman that will play Sept-Oct at the Royce Gallery in SF. This will be a 3GirlsTheatre production.

Rachel Bublitz is thrilled to have her ten minute play Reading Babar in 2070 open this weekend with the19th Best of PlayGround Festival. Coming up this June and July, Rachel's full length play Code Name: Brass Rose, inspired by the life of Nancy Wake, will be read at EXIT Theatre in DIVAfest's Loud and Unladylike Festival, http://divafest.info/ and on July 24th there will be a public reading of another full-length play of Rachel's, Of Serpents & Sea Spray, with Custom Made Theatre Company, custommade.org. Rachel is the recipient of this year’s June Anne Baker Prize and will be honored at the May 16 performance of Best of PlayGround.

Trevor Allen’s play WORKING FOR THE MOUSE will play at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose 5/24 & 5/31 https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=clt01 and also at EXIT Theatre, SF 6/5-6/13 http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1577734 Blackboxtheatre.com is producing the 49 Miles podcast project: http://www.blackboxtheatre.com/#!49miles/c1kmp It’s an online digital theatre piece based on his play, 49 MILES (Originally produced by Crowded Fire) Featuring the voices of Stacy Ross, James Carpenter, Amy Resnick, Michael Gaffney, Christian Caggigal and many others.

Cindy Goldfield is currently in rehearsal for the inaugural show at ACT’s new Strand Theatre.  LOVE AND INFORMATION starts previews June 3rd.

Karen Hartline’s ten-minute play, MOON, will be performed in August at Women in Theatre's Kauai Shorts Festival in Kauai, HI.

Anne Darragh, Stacy Ross, and Rosie Hallett are currently performing in THE WAY WEST at Marin Theatre Company, which runs through Sunday, May 10. Use the code WestRH for free tickets!

Brian Herndon will be appearing as Thing and an Ancestor in THE ADDAMS FAMILY at San Jose Stage.

Robert Sicular is playing Charlie "The Duck" Clench in One Man, Two Guvnors at Berkeley Rep. Previews begin this week, opening is May 15th, and it plays through June. 

Anthony Williams' scene from Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute is featured in the Directors' Showcase this Thursday at 8pm and Friday at 2pm at UC Berkeley in the Durham Studio Theatre.

David Cramer and Aaron Wilton are going to be in a reading of Golden Boy at the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House on the 17th.  Also, on the 11th and 18th, Teddy Spencer, Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer and Aaron are doing the Talley & Son reading at the Aurora.

Ross Peter Nelson will be awarded an MFA in Playwriting from the University of New Orleans at a commencement ceremony on May 15th. His thesis play, Becoming Number Six, was a semifinalist at both the Ashland New Plays Festival and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Monday, May 04, 2015

PlayGround's 2015 Young Playwrights Project Finalists!

PlayGround is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2015 Young Playwrights Contest. PlayGround invited aspiring writers and theatre artists at the high school level to write and submit their own 10-minute plays inspired by the topic:  HERSTORY: The Greatest Stories Never Told. The four selected plays will each receive a professional staged reading, presented as a “curtain raiser” before select performances of the 19th Best of PlayGround Festival at Thick House in May. PlayGround invites audiences to join in welcoming these bold new voices to the stage.

The selected plays/ finalists are: HOME FRONT by Camilla Dwyer (SOTA ’17), DARLING ON THE NICKEL by Rocko Bauman (Berkeley High School ’15), MAN'S WORK by Neil Binnie (Miramonte High School ’17), and DIFFERENT PIECES OF OPPRESSION by Rebecca Shalliker (Albany High School ’16). Join us May 14-17 as we celebrate the work of these emerging young writers as a part of this year’s Best of PlayGround. For more info, visit http://playground-sf.org/youngplaywrights.

Readings Schedule:
Thursday, May 14  @ 8pm / HOME FRONT by Camilla Dwyer, directed by Doyle Ott
Friday, May 15 @ 8pm / ON THE NICKEL by Rocko Bauman, directed by Michael French
Saturday, May 16 @ 8pm / MAN'S WORK by Neil Binnie, directed by Claire Rice
Sunday, May 17 @ 7pm / DIFFERENT PIECES OF OPPRESSION by Rebecca Shalliker, directed by Dylan Russell

About the Playwrights:

Rocko Bauman (Playwright, Darling on the Nickel) is a senior at Berkeley High and cofounder of the Elephant Club, dedicated to protecting elephants from the ivory trade. His previous playwriting experience includes Bell, which was produced in Berkeley Rep’s 2014 Teen One-Acts Festival. He was sound designer for Blast Razor: Viral Hero in the 2015 One-Acts.

Neil Binnie (Playwright, Man’s Work), a sophomore and avid writer at Miramonte High School in Orinda, was introduced to playwriting through a public speaking class; and his performance-turned-short-story, The Soda Pop Bootlegger, won the 2014 Poul Anderson Writing Contest.  A Varsity swim team athlete, Neil also coaches Special Olympics swimmers.

Camilla Dwyer (Playwright, Home Front) is currently enrolled in the theatre program at Asawa SOTA and, in addition to playwriting, enjoys world history and stand-up comedy. She would like to thank her family, friends, and teachers for their continued support and PlayGround for the opportunity to see one of her pieces on stage.

Rebecca Shalliker (Playwright, Different Pieces of Oppression) is a junior at Albany High School who has spent her entire life thus far in the Bay Area. She wanted to combine aspects of her Jewish background with discriminatory themes in her short play Different Pieces of Oppression.

About the Young Playwrights Project:
High school students from the Bay Area nine counties were invited to submit original short scripts inspired by the assigned topic, Herstory. The same topic was also assigned to PlayGround’s professional writers pool members for the March 16 round of Monday Night PlayGround in residence at Berkeley Rep.

“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,” stated PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann. This year marks the sixth year of the Bay Area-wide Young Playwrights Contest.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for creatively-inclined high school students to  experiment with writing for theatre in the ten minute theatre form. The finalists gain immeasurable confidence and accomplishment from seeing their works staged by Bay Area theatre professionals, alongside the adult professional playwrights at Best of PlayGround,” added PlayGround Education Coordinator Dylan Russell.

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 more than 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. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.
For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.  For more information on the Young Playwrights Project, visit http://playground-sf.org/youngplaywrights.

Free Tickets to the PlayGround Festival!

Got your attention? Yes, you can receive a pair of complimentary tickets to this year's PlayGround Festival, including Best of PlayGround (May 7-24) and the world premieres of Robin Lynn Rodriguez's Hella Love Oakland (May 11-June 13) and Garret Jon Groenveld's The Empty Nesters (May 18-June 14). How? Read on...

Local press coverage of the arts has been in decline over the past few decades, with reduction of staff and publications and an explosion of new companies and productions. But even as one system declines, new systems emerge, including the growth in independent blogs and peer-reviewed awards programs such as the TBA Awards. And this aligns very much with the spirit of PlayGround as a playwright and new play incubator, exploring new approaches to developing and producing theatre.

So here's the deal. When you commit to attending one of the first four performances of any of the PlayGround Festival productions and
  • write/post a review on the show you've attended (min 300 words) via Facebook, Twitter, your own blog and/or the PlayGround blog, or other online media,
  • PlayGround will provide you with a pair of priority-seating complimentary tickets (value: $110).
  • This offer is limited to the first ten respondents for each production and a credit card is required to guarantee your reservation (the card will not be charged pending publication of your review). 
  • To RSVP, select the PlayGround Festival performance you'd like to attend (for the complete calendar, visit http://playground-sf.org/calendar.shtml) and email your reservation request to boxoffice@playground-sf.org. 
 Celebrate new local voices (including your own)!