Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PlayGround Directing Apprenticeships (EXTENDED DEADLINE)!

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, is now looking for the next generation of great directors. PlayGround will select 3-4 diverse aspiring and/or early-career directors to apprentice with PlayGround during the upcoming Monday Night PlayGround season, kicking off September 21 at Berkeley Rep, and continuing through March 21, 2016. Directing Apprentices will each assistant direct one short play per month, September through December, as part of the monthly Monday night staged reading series alongside leading Bay Area directors (5pm-6:30pm rehearsal, 6:30pm-7:30pm tech, 8pm-9:30pm performance). Apprentices will then receive a directing slot within one of the final three rounds of the season (Jan-Mar). In addition, directing apprentices will have the opportunity to listen in on the monthly script selection, participate as a panelist during one of the final three rounds, and observe some of PlayGround’s other new play incubator programs. 

To be eligible, candidates must reside within the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, be at least 18 years of age, and be able to commit to a 5-7 month program. Directing experience is not required but, in the absence of past theatre directing credits, candidate should be able to provide evidence of a strong commitment to the field and experience in another theatrical discipline (acting, playwriting, design, stage management).

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and three references to jobs@playground-sf.org by midnight September 8, 2015 (EXTENDED DEADLINE). In-person interviews will be scheduled for select candidates September 9-11 and finalists will be announced by September 14. Women and artists of color encouraged to apply.

Monday, August 17, 2015

PlayGround's 22nd Season Announcement!

PlayGround launches its 22nd season on Monday, September 21 at Berkeley Rep with an all-new Monday Night PlayGround short play staged reading series and a special celebration of PlayGround alumni. PlayGround recently invited alumni from its Best of PlayGround program (celebrating 20 years next May) to create original short plays inspired by the timely and loaded topic of “Race Matters.” The top six scripts will be announced on September 1, matched with leading local directors and actors, rehearsed for just an hour-and-a-half and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at PlayGround’s season opener on September 21. PlayGround subscribers are invited to a free pre-show reception to meet the showcased alumni and the newly-selected 2015-16 PlayGround Writers Pool, to be introduced that evening. The season continues October 12 (2nd annual Planet Earth New Play Festival) and runs through March 21. Tickets ($15 general admission, $20 priority seating) are on sale and can be purchased online at http://playground-sf.org/boxoffice. 7-admission discount subscriptions start at just $70. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org/monday.

Regarding the topic selection for this year’s Alumni Night, PlayGround Artistic Director commented, “We’ve always believed that PlayGround should be flexible and adaptable enough to respond to the most pressing issues of our time and this theatrical conversation is long overdue, particularly given the events of the past year. We know it’s a loaded subject and hope that, together, we can unpack it a bit, and create works of art that help raise awareness, foster empathy, and encourage self-reflection, with a balance of pathos and humor. We’ve encouraged alumni to be creative and push boundaries (theirs and ours)!”

The complete 2015-16 Monday Night PlayGround schedule is:
Monday, September 21 at 8pm – Alumni Night
Monday, October 12 at 8pm – Planet Earth New Play Festival
Monday, November 16 at 8pm – Musical Theatre Night
Monday, December 21 at 8pm – Holiday Extravangza
Monday, January tbd at 8pm – S.T.E.M. Night
Monday, February 15 at 8pm – to be announced
Monday, March 21 at 8pm – WomenArts Night

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 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. 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 http://playground-sf.org.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

PlayGround Fall 2015 Playwriting Classes!

Are you looking to tap into your personal creativity? Ready to learn how to translate your ideas into theatrical stories or further develop your latest new play? PlayGround offers a range of classes, from single-session introductory Intensives to in-depth multi-session PlayLabs, to help take your writing to the next level! For more information on Fall 2015 classes, read below or visit http://playground-sf.org/classes.

Fall 2015 Classes

Intensives are weekly two-hour classes on select Mondays, 8pm-10pm, addressing various aspects of playwriting craft, often through the lens of the ten-minute play though fully applicable to the full-length play as well. All Intensives take place at the PlayGround PlaySpace, 3286 Adeline Street #4, off Alcatraz Ave, in South Berkeley. Registration is $40 per session and discount subscriptions are available when registering for 2 or more sessions at the same time.

PlayLabs offer a more hands-on and deeper investigation of class material and take place over six consecutive Tuesdays, 7pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace. Registration is $300 for each 6-session PlayLab and discounts are available for those registering by the early-bird deadline. Advance registration is required for all classes and capacity is limited. There are no refunds or exchanges.

Recess provides a safe, supportive lab to hear your work read aloud by leading local professional actors, in a community of your peers, with support from a professional dramaturg/facilitator. New this year, PlayGround brings one of its most coveted in-house programs to the public, on first Wednesdays, October through March, 7pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace. Bring an original short play or an excerpt from a longer work, hear it read aloud, and gain valuable feedback from peers, the actors, and our professional dramaturg/facilitator.


9/28: Playwriting Intensive - The Question with Aaron Loeb
What would happen if...? In the beginning, there's a question and it's through trying to answer that question that your play is born. Kick off the new season with this introductory session and learn how to find (or strengthen) the spark for your next play!

10/5: Playwriting Intensive - Character Development with Garret Jon Groenveld
Do you hear voices? Do you have visions about particular characters? Through your everyday discoveries you are processing your next character for your play. Learn about how to make your characters come alive and how their desires will unfold in your play. In this session we’ll unveil a number of techniques to help you define your characters.

10/26: Playwriting Intensive - Dialogue with Garret Jon Groenveld
Did you ever think that dialogue is like an invisible string traveling through the most intriguing areas of the human body? Travel with us from the mind, to the breath, into the ear and back to the mind and out of another mouth! Wild trip, huh? Dialogue is a fascinating translation of ideas that distinctly define a character, a moment, a desire. Learn how to tap into the most distinct dialogue you can imbue within your characters.

11/2: Playwriting Intensive - Conflict/Stakes with Amy Sass
How can you enrich the elements in your play by seeking more conflict? The play form asks playwrights to focus on drama: the crisis, the excitement, the thrill, the disturbance. If you have been blinded by your play, can’t see the future of its progress, come join us for a session on how to torque your conflict, freshen your stakes, and turn your pages into a crying exploration of how much you can push characters, drama, twists and turns!

11/30: Playwriting Intensive - Action
Are you cramped by too much back-story? Stuck in the “I don’t know what to do next” game? Action in your play is just like throwing a snowball down a mountain and watching it gather speed into a monster wrecking ball of force, taking out anything in its path! Or it’s just like skiing for the first time: let the action happen in the present! Seize the moment of your story; even when it is in the longest of lift lines. Action is about the forward motion of the elements in your play. PlayGround will help you in this session take control of your story and get it rocking in its most exciting rhythm.

12/7: Playwriting Intensive - Plot
Have you ever set your sights on traveling from point A and realized you’re actually at point G? As a writer, you are the driver, designated to show an audience your story. Before you do, how clear is your travel map? And if you don’t use maps but follow the stars, then how do you make “the how” happen? Whether you are a planner, a navigator, or a creature of inspiration, understanding your plot is a key insight to the backbone of your piece. Learn how to understand and strengthen the “how” of your play.

6-Class Subscription($168) - a 30% savings
Pick-4 Subscription($128) - a 20% savings
Pick-3 Subscription($108) - a 10% savings
Pick-2 Subscription($72) - a 10% savings 


PlayLab I (9/22-10/27) with Anthony Clarvoe
This six-session workshop will enable you to explore in greater depth the art and craft of playwriting. Some experience in theater practice, dramatic writing (straight plays, screenplays, or musicals), or writing in other genres strongly encouraged. Get the tools to launch that play! Shop talks, targeted writing exercises, and discussions will be driven by your questions and needs. The final session will include readings of student work and facilitated feedback.
Early-Bird Registration until 9/14.

PlayLab II (11/3-12/8) with Anthony Clarvoe
This six-session workshop can be taken in tandem with PlayLab I or independently and will enable you to further explore in greater depth the art and craft of playwriting. Get the tools to complete the next draft of your play-in-progress! Shop talks, targeted writing exercises, and discussions will be driven by your questions and needs. The final session will include readings of student work and facilitated feedback.
Early-Bird Registration until 10/16.


Among the most coveted programs PlayGround offers to its Writers Pool is Recess, an in-house opportunity to hear plays read aloud by professional actors and receive feedback in a private, safe setting. This year, PlayGround brings Recess to the public. Sign up for a session (or consider subscribing to the series and saving up to 30%), bring 10-15 pages and we'll provide the safe space and actors. You can guide the feedback or rely on our professional facilitator to do so. Capacity is limited.

10/7 Recess
11/4 Recess
12/2 Recess
1/6 Recess
2/3 Recess
3/2 Recess

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.

Garret Jon Groenveld is a founding writer of PlayGround and seven-time winner of the Emerging Playwrights Award. Among his full-length plays include: The Empty Nesters, The Grand Divorce, The Hummingbirds, Missives and The Serving Class. His play Missives, originally commissioned by PlayGround, appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2004, premiered in San Francisco in 2005 at Theatre Rhino and in New York in 2008 at 59E59 Theatres. His play The Hummingbirds won the Global Age Project at the Aurora and the Internationalists Global Playwriting Prize which has lead to an ongoing tour in Romania, two productions in Mexico City and a developmental workshop with Olympia Dukakis in New York. He is an inaugural Writer in Residence at the Playwrights Foundation, a PlayGround Resident Playwright, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

Jim Kleinmann co-founded PlayGround in 1994 and has served as Artistic Director since 1996. For PlayGround, he has provided artistic and administrative leadership for the past twenty-one seasons, developing PlayGround’s unique array of new playwright and new play incubator programs, including Monday Night PlayGround, the PlayGround Festival, the full-length play Commissioning Initiative, the New Play Production Fund, and most recently the PlayGround Film Festival. He has directed and developed numerous new plays including Katie May's A History of Freaks and Ruben Grijalva's Value Over Replacement for the PlayGround Festival. He is a veteran arts administrator with more than twenty-five years of experience, including stints leading Traveling Jewish Theatre, Smuin Ballet and Berkeley Symphony, and received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Aaron Loeb is a playwright and video game maker. His work has been extensively produced by PlayGround and other theaters around the country. He won the 2013 Glickman Award for his play Ideation, premiered at SF Playhouse. His PlayGround-commissioned full-length plays First Person Shooter and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party also premiered at SF Playhouse and subsequently around the country and his play, Blastosphere, co-written with Geetha Reddy, premiered at CentralWorks.

Amy Sass is a multidisciplinary artist and the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Ragged Wing Ensemble. She is recipient of the 2013 Emerging Playwright Award for her short play Significant People (also a People’s Choice Award winner) and the 2013 June Anne Baker Prize and commission.

Additional faculty to be announced.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

PlayGround Company in the News Aug-15

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

Anthony Williams plays Frankie in the film, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, opening in San Francisco on 8/14!

Michael Barrett Austin will be appearing in Central Works' PROJECT AHAB; OR, EYE OF THE WHALE through August 23 at the Berkeley City Club. Tickets and information: http://centralworks.org/project-ahab-or-eye-of-the-whale/ He and his wife Emily are expecting their first daughter at the end of the month!

Robert Sicular continues until the 22nd with Stacy Ross and Dodds Delzell in Søren Oliver's Demetrius Unbound at the Live Oak Theatre, www.bareflagtheatre.com, and departs at the end of the month for South Coast Rep to do the SoCal run of One Man Two Guvnors, which played at the Berkeley Rep this Spring.

Mark Routhier has left Orlando Shakespeare Theater and UCF and moved to Washington DC to pursue freelance directing. He is currently directing David Adjmi's MARIE ANTOINETTE with The NOLA Project in New Orleans. The last time he worked with them was last year in this slot directing ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST which won 5 Big Easy Awards including Best Drama and Best Director of a Drama. 

Teddy Spencer is currently in South Bend, IN at the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival performing in WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (ABRIDGED). After LONG LOST, Teddy will begin rehearsals for Edward/Robert Ferrars in SENSE & SENSIBILITY at the Sacramento Theatre Company.

Molly Noble is currently directing Misalliance at College of Marin.

Louis Parnell just completed four different staged readings of new plays, will direct the world premiere of MOMENTS OF TRUTH to open in Sept and will perform in THE NETHER at the SF Playhouse in January.

Ron Campbell is playing Don Quixote at the Marin Shakespeare Company and then heading to Seattle to play Cecil B. DeGrille at Teatro Zinzanni.

Ross Peter Nelson's play, THE THIRD HORSEMAN, will be presented at the Samsung Hall, Bonifacio Global City as part of the Short+Sweet Manila Theatre Festival in the Phillipines, running Sept 4-27.

Joy Carlin is directing THE PRICE, which opens on Sept 10 at the Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz. Her dream team cast includes Victor Talmadge, Rolf Saxon, Nancy Carlin and Arje Shaw. http://www.jeweltheatre.net

Rosie Hallett is performing in THE COUNTRY HOUSE at TheatreWorks, August 26 - September 20. http://www.theatreworks.org/shows/1516-season/the-country-house

Jon Tracy, along with a host of theatre artists from the bay area and around the world, have launched a new company, Groundswell: The International Theatre Intensive. Their first intensive invites actors, directors and playwrights to apply for a rigorous 10 days of exploration in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. For more info: www.internationaltheatreintensive.com.

Julia McNeal is about to start rehearsals for the Magic Theatre's season opener, the American Premiere of Fred's Diner by Penelope Skinner.  First preview September 17th!

Patricia Cotter's cabaret show (co-written with Beth Malone), BETH MALONE SO FAR, will be performed at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater on August 31st at 7:30 and 9:30 PM. Her play, THE ANTHROPOLOGY SECTION, will be produced by The City Theatre, Miami Florida as part of their "Shorts Gone Wild 3" program August 8 - September 6th.

Steven Westdahl is currently in rehearsal as an actor and director with Zurich Plays, the West Coast premiere of a Dada history of the Dada art movement written by Brian Griffin and Marc Cram, performing four times during the San Francisco Fringe Festival in September. http://www.sffringe.org/zurich/

Brian Herndon has performances of THE MAN IN THE CEILING by Jules Feiffer and Andrew Lippa on Thursday, August 13 and Sunday, August 16 at TheatreWorks. He then heads into rehearsals for THE NANCE at New Conservatory.

L. Zephyr is participating in Theatre Bay Area's ATLAS Program this August. In addition her new play, CONDORS, was recently featured in 3 Girls Theatre Company's LezWrites! Festival at Thick House.