Monday, February 23, 2015

PlayGround & WomenArts Shine Spotlight on Gender Parity


“I don’t want to hear from anybody that there isn’t, or hasn’t been, a real gender problem in the American theater.” - Theresa Rebeck (Broadway playwright). This March, PlayGround and WomenArts will partner to launch “WomenArts Night,” a special Monday Night PlayGround evening featuring six short plays that will celebrate women in the arts and exemplify gender parity in theatre. The inaugural “WomenArts Night” will take place at 8pm on Monday, March 16 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  Several of the short plays from that evening will also be included in WomenArts’ free Support Women Artists Now Day (SWAN Day) event on Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. at Ashby Stage.  Tickets and discount flex passes for Monday Night PlayGround can be purchased online at http://playground-sf.org/boxoffice.

WomenArts, an international advocacy group for women artists, approached PlayGround because of its long-standing commitment to gender parity, both on and off stage.  Half of PlayGround’s company of writers, actors and directors are women, and PlayGround has been recognized with a 50/50 Applause Award for its leadership in producing plays by women.  In 2014, women were 50% of the writers selected for PlayGround’s season while women were only 26% of the writers produced by all Bay Area theatres (Source: Counting Actors Project). “PlayGround has helped launch many of the best playwrights in the Bay Area, and they are proactive about cultivating women writers and directors. We are especially excited about collaborating on a Monday Night PlayGround because the ten-minute play format is so much fun for the artists and audiences,” commented WomenArts Executive Director Martha Richards. 

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the forty-eight playwrights in the PlayGround Company and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. The top six plays are rehearsed for just one-and-a-half hours each and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Monday Night PlayGround, now celebrating its twenty-first year. PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

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 PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 700 original short plays and 54 new full-length plays, with 3 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

WomenArts (Co-Producer) is a non-profit advocacy group for women artists that facilitates the annual world-wide Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) celebrations in March and April.  Currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary, WomenArts created Support Women Artists Now Day (SWAN Day) as a new international holiday in 2008.  SWAN Day has inspired people all over the world to donate to women artists and to create events celebrating women artists on SWAN Day (the last Saturday of March) and throughout March and April.  There have been over 1,200 SWAN events in 24 countries over the past seven years.  Everyone is welcome to participate by creating or attending SWAN events or by making donations to their favorite women artists. No applications or fees are required.  For more information, please visit: www.WomenArts.org

WHAT:  Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  For March’s performance, PlayGround is partnering with WomenArts to present an evening of short plays celebrating women’s stories and women in the arts (the topic will be announced on Friday, March 6).

WHERE: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley, CA

WHEN: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 8pm 

TICKETS: $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) in advance, $20 at the door.  Pay-What-You-Can at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability.  4-admission priority seating flex passes are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org.

PlayGround Announces 20th Anniv Gala Honorees!

PlayGround has announced the line-up for this year’s 20th anniversary Gala fundraiser on Monday, April 6 at American Conservatory Theater: award-winning playwright and television writer Theresa Rebeck and Bay Area director/filmmaker Amy Glazer. The evening features an onstage conversation with Rebeck and Glazer, a reception and silent auction, seated dinner, and presentation of the 2015 PlayGround Emerging Playwright Awards, June Anne Baker Prize and PlayGround Fellowship. Co-chairs for this year’s gala are Beverly Butler and Aaron Loeb.
 

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. New York productions of her work include Dead Accounts at the Music Box Theatre; Seminar at the Golden Theatre; Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club Production; The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at the Laura Pels Theater in a Roundabout Theatre Company production; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre. Her newest work, Poor Behavior premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2011. Dead Accounts, commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse, premiered January 2012. Seminar continues to run on Broadway.

In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash.  She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury’s Law, Smith, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Her produced feature films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks andSeducing Charlie Barker, an adaptation of her play, The Scene. Awards include the Mystery Writer’s of America’s Edgar Award, the Writer’s Guild of America award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston’s Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Eliot Norton Award.  Other awards include the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and in 2011 she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.
 

Amy Glazer has directed numerous World, American and West Coast premieres. Recent productions include Seminar by Theresa Rebeck and Becky Shaw, Tigers Be Still, Harper Regan, Animals Out of Paper, Shining City, and The Scene at SF Playhouse. For Magic Theatre her work included Sam Shepard's The God Of Hell, Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're In With, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Blue Surge and The American in Me, Steven Belber's Drifting Elegant and Tape, and Barry Gifford's Wyoming. For Marin Theatre Company Amy has directed What The Butler Saw, Frozen, Displaced, Life x 3, My Old Lady, The Music Lesson, Misalliance, Candida and Indiscretions. She has also directed plays for Eureka Theatre, TheatreWorks, SJ Stage Company and the Assembly Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
 

Also a filmmaker, Amy has directed Ball Lightning by Barry Gifford, Drifting Elegant by Steven Belber and Seducing Charlie Barker by Theresa Rebeck, both available on VOD, Netflix and Amazon. All three films were developed from plays she previously directed. Amy Glazer is a theatre and film professor at San Jose State University.
 

Gala host committee members include past honorees Colman Domingo, Amy Freed, Philip Kan Gotanda, Jonathan Moscone, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Carey Perloff, and Octavio Solis. The honorary committee includes Joy Carlin, Delia Ehrlich, Lara N. Gilman, Maurice Kanbar, Zandra Faye LeDuff, Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston, Rebecca Martinez, Jill Matichak, John & Pamela Walker, and Lynn Webb.
 

All proceeds benefit PlayGround and its award-winning new play incubator programs. Since 1994, PlayGround has nurtured more than 200 Bay Area playwrights, supporting the development of over 700 original short plays and 54 new full-length plays. 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, DC’s Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.; this event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists.

Event: 20th anniversary PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night with Theresa Rebeck and Amy Glazer

Date/Time: Monday, April 6, 2015

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
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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The February People's Choice Award goes to Lesli Zephyr for her short play, Valentine Moon, presented as a staged reading at the “Twisted Love Stories (Bay Area Edition)”-inspired Monday Night PlayGround on February 16 at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Lesli!

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

VALENTINE MOON
by Lesli Zephyr

CAST:
DONNA: Female. 30-50 y.o.
VAL: Female. 30-50 y.o. Wears a dark jacket.
TRUDY: Female. 30-50 y.o.
MADDIE: Female. 30-50 y.o. A tad new agey. Her voice is modulated, borderline theatrical.
POLICE OFFICER: Age, gender, race, non-specific. Wears a shoulder/earpiece communication device.

All actors are dressed for cold weather
When DONNA and VAL speak to one another their voices are slightly raised, as if one was on a bridge, at night, with wind and distance between them.

SETTING: Bridge. Stage is dark except for an overhead bridge light
TIME: Late night.

            At rise: DONNA is standing on bridge railing. VAL is on street side.

                                                                        VAL
Donna, get back here. Now.

                                                                        DONNA
Go away.

                                                                        VAL
You know, someone’s going to see you, call the cops, and you’re going to end up in the psych unit.

                                                                        DONNA
Maybe I’ll find true love there.

                                                                        VAL
I’ve heard all things are possible with Haldol.

                                                                        DONNA
You’re just trying to frighten me.

                                                                        VAL
Yes, that’s it. I’ve come out here on the bridge in the middle of the night, freezing my butt off, just to frighten you....and for the record, you, called me.

                                                                        DONNA
 I miss you.

                                                                        VAL
Donna....

                                                                        DONNA
We can make it work.

                                                                        VAL
Donna, you’re on a freakin’ bridge railing.

                                                                        DONNA
Your point being?

                                                                        VAL
Being, that we can’t discuss anything rationally without you going off the deep end.

                                                                        DONNA
All couples have issues, Val.
                                                                       
                                                                        VAL
Yes, they do,...but most couples can discuss their issues without one of them climbing onto a bridge. Whenever an issue comes up that makes you uncomfortable you act out. It doesn’t matter if it’s the bills, the house, the dog, our love life....or lack thereof.

                                                                        DONNA
We don’t make love for a little while and all of a sudden-
                                                                       
                                                                        VAL
A little while? A year and a half!

                                                                        DONNA
I was under stress.

            TRUDY approaches.

                                                                        TRUDY
Can I help?

                                                                        DONNA
 Tell her to come back to me.

                                                                        VAL
Do you have a cell? I left mine-

                                                                        TRUDY
You left her?

                                                                        VAL
(Disbelief) Left her?.... Look, I forgot my cell, do you have-

                                                                        TRUDY
Why did you leave her?

                                                                        VAL
Okay. What is this, some Kafka novel? She’s on the bridge railing, about to fall to-

                                                                        DONNA
Jump! Jump, because my heart has been completely destroyed by-

                                                                        VAL
Whatever, to her death, and you want to know why we broke up!?

----

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, March 16, at Berkeley Rep and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

Friday, February 06, 2015

PlayGround's Feb 16 (Post-Valentine's Day) Topic Announcement

“Love Me, Love Me Not…” Not looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year? Planning your recovery from that day of sugary overdose and the illusion of the perfect relationship? PlayGround writers will provide their own solution with a special Post-Valentine’s Day Monday Night PlayGround, 8pm, Monday, February 16 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in a co-production with local restauranteur, entrepreneur and theatre producer David Steele. Writers have four days to generate their original ten-minute scripts, inspired by the topic “Twisted Love Stories (Bay Area Edition),” with the top six plays to be performed on the set of Berkeley Rep’s current show. Writers have been encouraged to explore stories that have a clear sense of place in the Bay Area. Contemporary stories where love doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. Love thwarted, unrequited love, betrayed love, screwed-up love, love for all the wrong reasons, etc. And, of course, the people caught up in it all. Tickets and discount season subscriptions can be purchased online at http://playground-sf.org/boxoffice.

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the forty-eight playwrights in the PlayGround Company and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. The top six plays are rehearsed for just one-and-a-half hours each and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Monday Night PlayGround, now celebrating its twenty-first year. PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

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 PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 700 original short plays and 54 new full-length plays, with 3 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

David Steele (Co-Producer) is an active contributor to the local San Francisco area with several business ventures influencing the lifestyle, health and wellness of individuals in the community. His involvement includes owning the yoga studio Moxie Yoga & Fitness and as Managing Partner of several restaurants: Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and Trick Dog, that focus on creating atmospheres of spectacularly high standards while maintaining a sense of their humble beginnings. He is also an Executive Director of J.P. Morgan Securities, a Wealth Management division of J.P. Morgan. The arts and entertainment worlds are particularly important to David, primarily though his work as a partner in Noise Pop, which promotes music and culturally significant events, but also as a mixed media/collage artist, an aspiring playwright, and as a producer of plays. He co-produced the premiere of Katie May’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl at the A.C.T. Costume Shop and subsequently in New York City at the New York International Fringe Festival. He serves on the board of PlayGround.

WHAT:  Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  For February’s Post-Valentine’s Day performance, PlayGround will present six original short plays inspired by “Twisted Love Stories (Bay Area Edition)”.

WHERE: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley, CA

WHEN: Monday, February 16, 2015 at 8pm              
Additional Season Dates: March 16, 2015

TICKETS: $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) in advance, $20 at the door.  Pay-What-You-Can at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability.  4-admission priority seating flex passes are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

PlayGround Playwriting Classes UPDATE!

A few quick updates regarding upcoming PlayGround playwriting classes and one date change.
 
DATE CHANGE: Jon Tracy's "Adaptations" class, originally scheduled for this past Monday, February 2, has been rescheduled to Sunday evening, February 22 (still 7pm-10pm).
 
PLAYLAB OPENINGS: There are still two spots remaining in Jim Kleinmann's PlayLab master class which began January 27 and continues through March 17. Register before Tuesday, February 10 and save 20% on the remaining six sessions (reg. $300). Also, a reminder that the early-bird registration deadline for Anthony Clarvoe's six-week spring PlayLab is March 1. This master class runs on consecutive Tuesdays, March 24 through April 28.
 
MULTI-CLASS SAVINGS: You can save up to 30% on Intensives registration when you choose one of the multi-class subscriptions. The next Intensive is Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's "Triggers, Hooks and Block-busters" on Monday, February 9.
 
All classes take place at the PlayGround PlaySpace, 3286 Adeline Street #4 (off Alcatraz) in South Berkeley, just three blocks from Ashby BART and with plenty of free street parking. For complete class descriptions and schedule, visit http://playground-sf.org/classes. To register for the Monday Night Intensives and/or PlayLabs, visit http://playground-sf.org/register.

 
INTENSIVES

 
Registration: $50 per session
Pick-4 Subscription: $160 (20% savings)
Pick-6 Subscription: $210 (30% savings)
 
PLAYLABS
 
PlayLab: Master Class with Jim Kleinmann
2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17
Discounted Registration thru Feb 10: $240 (20% savings on remaining 6 sessions)
Just 2 spots remain!
 
PlayLab: Master Class with Anthony Clarvoe
3/24, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28
Early-Bird Registration thru Mar 1: $240 (20% savings)
Capacity limited.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

PlayGround Company in the News Feb-15

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

Brian Herndon is playing Max in NICK AND NORA at 42nd Street Moon. Also in the cast are Cindy Goldfield, Michael Barrett Austin and Davern Wright.

Cindy Goldfield is currently working as AD to Giles Havergal on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the ACT/MFA 2 class.

Julia McNeal opens in Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind at the Magic on February 6.

Karen Macklin's play Poetic License, initially staged by PlayGround in 2014, was just selected for the Ohlone College Playwrights Festival in spring 2015. Also featured in this year’s Ohlone College Playwrights Festival are Tanya Grove’s A Twin Tale and Rachel Bublitz’s NIGHT TERROR.

Rachel Bublitz’s full-length play Of Serpents & Sea Spray will receive a world premiere production next January as part of Custom Made Theatre Company's 2015/16 season.

TREE by Julie Hebert is currently open at San Francisco Playhouse, directed by company member Jon Tracy and staring company member Cathleen Riddley along with Susi Damilano, Carl Lumbly, and Tristan Cunningham.

As part of its annual festival of original one-acts this March, The Stage Door Theatre in Fredericksburg, Virginia, will produce Diane Sampson's short play What's True? (a PlayGround Monday night selection in 2012).

Ignacio Zulueta has three plays in as many states this month: PRESS CONFERENCE at the Snowdance Comedy Festival in Michigan, 3 SISTERS WATCHING THREE SISTERS at the Parish Players in Vermont, and FIRST DANCE at ShotzSF at PianoFight.

Alex Moggridge is about to head to Louisville to act in I Will Be Gone at the Humana Festival.

Melissa Keith is in rehearsals for OTHER DESERT CITIES at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, running from March 6–April 5.
  
Adam Roy is currently playing Jack Hammer in SF Oasis's production of SHIT & CHAMPAGNE, closing February 14. http://sfoasis.com/

Eric Fraisher Hayes is directing the French farce The Ladies Man at Role Players Ensemble this February.

Mary Baird has one week left of INDIAN INK at ACT in San Francisco and has just started rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet to be performed the last Friday and Saturday of March and the first two Fridays and Saturdays of April at The Omni Commons at 4799 Shattuck, Oakland. Watch for Indiegogo post online soon.

Joy Carlin is getting ready to direct Tally's Folly at the Aurora Theatre with Lauren English and Rolf Saxon.

Through March 23, Julia Brothers is appearing in Women In Jeopardya new play by Wendy MacLeod at GEVA Theatre in Rochester, NY, where all the snow is. 

Anthony Williams is in rehearsals for AULIS: An Act of Nihilism in One Long Act with Mina Morita at UC Berkeley.

Molly Noble is currently directing the school tour of Charlotte's Web for the Masque Unit of Junior Theatre of Marin, is in preproduction for SEAGULL at the College of Marin, and will be performing in staged readings of Talley and Son and the Fifth of July at Aurora. She also just joined the PlayGround board!