Thursday, January 28, 2016

PlayGround Winter/Spring 2016 Classes

PlayGround is pleased to announce our lineup of classes and workshops for the Winter/Spring 2016… nine distinct offerings led by leading local theatre artists to help you take your playwriting to the next level! All classes take place at the PlayGround PlaySpace, 3286 Adeline Street #4, off Alcatraz Avenue, in Berkeley. For more information or to register, visit


This semester, PlayGround has crafted a series of seven single-session 2-hour classes, designed to immerse playwrights (and others) in the creative processes of your artistic collaborators. Inform your playwriting by learning the craft of stage combat, directing, acting, voice work, dramaturgy, casting, and design, led by some of the Bay Area's leading practitioners! On select Mondays, 8pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace. Registration is $40 per session and significant discounts are available for those registering for multiple sessions. 

2/29: Stage Combat for Playwrights with Brian Herndon This class will be a hands-on introduction to basic unarmed and rapier techniques to introduce how choreographers create the illusion of violence while keeping combatants safe. Come prepared to move, with closed-toe shoes and your sense of adventure. 

3/7: Directing for Playwrights with Molly Noble

This class will focus on three processes in directing: text analysis, ensemble building (this includes design ensemble), and developing the directors’ powers of observation and imagination. 

3/14: Acting for Playwrights with Stacy Ross

In this class, students will learn the actor’s craft and approach to new works from a master. Stacy Ross has acted on the Bay Area’s leading stages over the past twenty years. 

3/28: Voice Work for Playwrights with Mary Baird

In this class, students will go through a basic Linklater voice warm up. A series of exercises for freeing the natural voice. Wear loose fitting clothes and be willing to lie on the ground and have some fun. 

4/4: Dramaturgy for Playwrights with Laura Brueckner

In this class, students will explore the role of dramaturgy in theatre production, specifically in the development of new plays, from early draft to the production script, including script deconstruction and analysis, facilitating feedback, and helping set goals during script development. 

4/18: Casting for Playwrights with Annie Stuart

In this class, writers will get an in-depth look at the casting process from idea to audition to first rehearsal. We will look at the audition from both sides of the table and talk about the playwright’s role in casting as well as how to best communicate specific casting ideas regarding gender and diversity. 

4/25: Design for Playwrights with Josh Senick

In this class, students will learn how designers approach new works, with a focus on the sound designer’s process.  We will discuss the challenges of interpreting stage directions into design elements and copyright concerns, specifically those around sound effects and music.


PlayGround will offer two PlayLab master classes this semester on consecutive Tuesdays, 7pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace, each providing an opportunity to go deeper on your learning and writing: two five-week sessions with PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann and other special guests focusing on the ten-minute play (2/16-3/15 and 3/22-4/19), and one six-week session with Anthony Clarvoe focusing on full-length works (4/26-5/31). 

PlayLab: Ten-Minute Play Master Class (3/15-4/19) with Jim Kleinmann & Friends

In this six-session workshop, PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann and guest faculty drawn from top alumni provide a thorough introduction to the key elements to playwriting with a focus on the ten-minute play. Subjects covered will include: setup, character development and dialogue, conflict/stakes, action, and plot. Students will receive a short writing assignment at the end of each session, due the next week, and read aloud in class. Perfect for the new student and great as a refresher for early-career professionals. Early-Bird Registration (30% savings) until 3/8. 

PlayLab: Full-Length Play Master Class (4/26-5/31) with Anthony Clarvoe

This six-session workshop will enable you to explore the art and craft of playwriting. Get the tools to initiate your next play or complete a new 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 (30% savings) until 4/12. 

For more information on this semester’s offerings, visit
To register, visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

PlayGround Company in the News Jan-16

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

Misner & Smith (Sam Misner and Megan Smith) will be playing a special concert on February 5th in Berkeley at one of the Bay Area's finest music venues, The Freight & Salvage (directly across the street from Berkeley Rep). They will be playing this show as a trio, adding acclaimed pedal steel and electric guitar player, Josh Yenne, who has played with the likes of Mazzy Star, Boz Skaggs and The Easy Leaves. If there's one venue to catch the band in it's the Freight & Salvage, so don't miss this show! They'll be playing all of the songs that were featured in November’s Monday Night PlayGround Musical Night!

Patricia Cotter's ten-minute play The Colony (which premiered last season at PlayGround) will be produced in February by Florida's The City Theatre as a part of the Island Shorts 2016 on Key Biscayne. 

Robert Sicular appears in Shakespeare and the Tender Land at the Berkeley City Club, Thursday evening, January 21 at 8:00 PM. He also starts rehearsals for Word for Word's spring show at Z Space towards the end of the month.

Roberta D’Alois will be directing an excerpt from Marilyn by Amanda Ngoho Reavey for Small Press Traffic’s Poets' Theater Festival the weekend of January 23/24. For more information and tickets go to

Molly Noble is directing Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates (featuring Jennifer King) Feb. 5-21 and Nina Wise's The Kepler Story at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder April 1-10

Katja Rivera is directing NOW CIRCA THEN for Douglas Morrison Theatre's staged reading series, Bare Bones, on January 11. She is also acting in Pasadena Shakespeare Company's concert reading of SHAKESPEARE AND THE TENDER LAND at the Berkeley City Club on January 21.

L. Zephyr’s short holiday play, THE SECOND NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, just ended the 2015 season with two productions, one at ALPHA THEATRE in NYC, and the other at HOBO JUNCTION (Hobo-Robo) in Chicago.  Santa did indeed, deliver this year.

Louis Parnell will next be appearing in THE NETHER at the SF Playhouse. It starts previews Jan 19 and plays Tues-Sun thru March 6. After that, he'll be workshopping the world premiere of ENTANGLEMENT, a play by AJ Baker that will be produced at Z Space Below in Nov.

Brian Herndon participated in the Writers’ Retreat to develop new musicals at TheatreWorks last week and is appearing in the world premiere of SWIMMERS by Rachel Bonds at Marin Theatre Company in March.
Rachel Bublitz's full-length play, OF SERPENTS & SEA SPRAY, is premiering with Custom Made Theatre Company through January 30th. For tickets and more information:

Crish Barth's feature length screenplay, WEDDING OF MASS DESTRUCTION, was named a quarter finalist in the WeScreenplay International Screenplay Competition. Finalists to be announced later this year.

Douglas Giorgis is playing Calum in the reading of the new musical, Low Road, directed by Cindy Goldfield, in addition to shooting the role of Mr. Decent in the independent film, After A Brief Lapse Of Memory.

Friday, January 08, 2016

PlayGround Celebrates MLK Day 2016

“Let us therefore continue our triumphant march to the realization of the American dream.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (Montgomery, 1965). PlayGround continues its twenty-second season and celebrated monthly staged reading series, Monday Night PlayGround, on January 18 at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre with six original short plays inspired by this month’s topic… THE 1960S: NEW FRONTIERS. Bay Area-based playwrights in the PlayGround Writers Pool have four-and-a-half days to write and submit scripts inspired by the topic. The six finalists will be presented as script-in-hand staged readings at 8pm on January 18. Advance tickets are $15-$20 and $20 at the door, subject to availability. For tickets and more information, visit

The monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series provides a unique opportunity for the debut of fresh new works by the Bay Area’s most promising new voices, performed by some of the Bay Area’s favorite actors on what is typically their only night off. 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 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 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 750 original short plays and 60 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area, New York and around the country. PlayGround alumni represent the who’s who of the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Erin Bregman, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, and Lauren Yee, among others. For more information, visit 

WHAT: Occurring monthly, September-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 the January 18 Monday Night PlayGround, PlayGround will present six original short plays inspired by the topic: THE 1960S: NEW FRONTIERS! 

WHERE: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison St, Berkeley, CA

WHEN: Monday, January 18, 2016 at 8pm
Additional Season Dates: 
February 15, 2016 – S.T.E.M. Night
March 21, 2016 – WomenArts Night

TICKETS: Tickets are $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) online in advance and $20 general admission at the door, subject to availability. 5-admission Flex Passes are just $75 (25% off priority seating).  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit