Friday, February 05, 2016

PlayGround Feb 15 STEM Night Topic

PlayGround continues its 22nd season of Monday Night PlayGround and annual S.T.E.M. Night with an evening of plays inspired by this year’s STEM topic: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Additional background can be found at the PlayGround topics page, PlayGround playwrights have four-and-a-half days to generate their original scripts inspired by the topic and the top six will be presented as script-in-hand staged readings on Monday, February 15 at Berkeley Rep. 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. PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm, with several of the featured playwrights.  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 February 15 S.T.E.M. Night, PlayGround will present six original short plays inspired by the topic: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!

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

WHEN: Monday, February 15, 2016 at 8pm
Additional Season Dates:
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

Thursday, February 04, 2016

PlayGround Company in the News Feb-16

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

Lauren Yee has won the 2015 Will Glickman Award for her play, In a Word, an imaginative missing-child drama that opened in April in San Francisco Playhouse’s Sandbox Series as a National New Play Network rolling world premiere. It’s been produced subsequently in Cleveland and San Diego, and opens this month in Chicago. This is SF Playhouse’s second Glickman-winning production, having previously been honored for Aaron Loeb’s IDEATION, now heading to New York’s 59E59 Theaters.

Patricia Cotter and Victoria Chong Der have been named 2016 Resident Playwrights with the Playwrights Foundation.

Joy Carlin is about to start rehearsals at the Aurora Theatre Company for Sarah Treem's THE HOW AND THE WHY. Immediately after that, she will be directing Arje Shaw's THE GATHERING, a revival of his Broadway play about family and forgiveness (but with a twist) to be presented at the Royce Studio Theatre in SF. Then in June, the production will move to Berkeley's Theatre First.  She’ll also direct a reading of a new play by Robert Reich at A.C.T. in April. In the midst of all this, she looks forward to greeting the PlayGround community for the 2016 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night on April 11th.

Robert Sicular and Rosie Hallett appear in Word for Word's Stories by Emma Donoghue and Colm Tóibín, February 24th - April 3rd at Z Space, followed by a tour to France.

Rinabeth Apostol and Jomar Tagatac are performing in dogeaters at the Magic for the month of February.

Cindy Goldfield is directing MOST HAPPY FELLA for 42nd Street Moon.

Director Eric Fraisher Hayes just opened Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire at Role Players Ensemble.

Roberta D’Alois is one of the newest panelists for the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her 5-minute play, Oh! You Pretty Things, will be featured as one of the 6 plays for Some like It Shotz! at PianoFIght on February 10th. Tickets at

Louis Parnell is currently appearing in THE NETHER at the SF Playhouse through March 5 (get tickets soon as it is playing to full houses). After that he will be workshopping a new play, ENTANGLEMENT, by AJ Baker which will open in a 3Girls Theatre production in Nov at Z Below.

Gwen Loeb is in workshops for the new musical CAN YOU HEAR ME BABY (by Lisa Rafel & Gary Malkin, directed by Jayne Atkinson-Gill) in preparation for the Houston, LA, and SF backers auditions.

Karen Macklin's one-act play I [Love] You will be staged as part of the Origins of Love festival at University of San Francisco, April 7-April 10.

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!

Molly Noble just directed Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck (featuring Jen King) at Cinnabar Theatre and is in rehearsals (with Bethanie Baeyen) for Nina Wise's the Kepler Project at UC Boulder's Fiske Planetarium in March/April.

Maury Zeff’s short play, Can You Hear the Ocean? (originally written for this past October's Monday Night PlayGround), is a finalist in the Parish Players Tenth Annual 10 Minute Play Festival in Thetford, VT.

Elena Wright will be performing next in THE LITTLE MERMAID by Hans Christian Andersen, adapted by Mike Kenny, at Marin Theatre Company, Feb 27-March 6.

Carolyn Doyle will be performing in One For All: A Solo Arts Festival at Douglas Morrison Theatre, Apr 8 -17, alongside Josh Kornbluth, Marga Gomez and Ann Randolph.

Brian Herndon and Danielle Levin will be playing Louis and his wife Fanny in Central Works' production of ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON: JEKYLL & HYDE this spring at the Berkeley City Club.

Ron Campbell will be finishing a five-month run as Cecil B. DeGrille in Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle and then heading off to San Diego to play R. Buckminster Fuller in The History (and Mystery) of the Universe for the 40th season of the San Diego Repertory Theatre.

Charley Lerrigo, Madeline Puccioni, Christine Keating and Pat Morin are among the playwrights chosen for SF Theater Pub's new "On the Spot" festival in March at the Piano Fight, four performances (Mar. 21-22-28-29) of ten-minute plays written in 24 hours to a prompt. Sara Judge is producing.

Alumnus Dave Garrett just finished teaching an Each One Reach One playwriting workshop at San Mateo County's juvenile hall in January. He will be teaching workshops in San Francisco's juvenile hall in February and May. Dave will also be teaching a Playwriting summer camp for ages 9-12 at the Children's Creativity Museum in late June.

Alex Moggridge’s play Simon Dawes Becomes a Planet was a semi-finalist for the American Blues Theater's Blue Ink Playwriting Award. It's also set for a production in New York this fall.

Michael Barrett Austin will be appearing in Boeing Boeing at San Jose Stage, April 6-May 1.

Rachel Bublitz will head to Denver this month for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 7 Conference where her ten-minute play, Lean In With Liz! (originally developed at Monday Night PlayGround), is a semi-finalist.

PlayGround 2016 Benefit & Awards Night

PlayGround has announced the line-up for the 2016 Gala fundraiser on Monday, April 11 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre: 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (“Between Riverside and Crazy”) and screen and stage actor Carl Lumbly will join Benefit Honorary Chair Joy Carlin to celebrate the Bay Area’s best new playwrights. The evening features a private dinner with the honorees, a reception and silent auction, an onstage conversation with Guirgis and Lumbly, and presentation of the 2016 PlayGround Playwright Awards. Co-chairs for this year’s gala are Kate Clarvoe and David Steele. Tickets are $300-$1,000 ($20-$50 for presentation only). For tickets and more information, visit or call (415) 992-6677.

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a member of New York City's LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. They include “Our Lady of 121st Street” (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations, 10 best plays of 2003), “Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train” (Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, Barrymore Award, Olivier Nomination for London's Best New Play), “In Arabia,” “We'd All Be Kings” (2007 LA Drama Critics Best Play, Best Writing Award), “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” (10 best Time Magazine & Entertainment Weekly), and “The Little Flower of East Orange” (starring Elen Burstyn & Michael Shannon) at The Public Theater. In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida (dir: Rupert Goold), The Hampstead (Robert Delamere), and at The Arts in the West End. Other plays include “Den of Thieves” (HERE, HAI Theater Festival), and “Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho” (dir: Adam Rapp) for the 2006 E.S.T. Marathon. He has received a 2006 PEN/Laura Pels Award, a 2006 Whiting Award, and a 2004 TCG fellowship, new play commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club, Center Theater Group, and South Coast Repertory, and is a member of LAByrinth Theater Company, New Dramatists, MCC's Playwright's Coalition, Ojai Playwrights Festival, and New River Dramatists. Television writing credits include "NYPD Blue," "The Sopranos," David Milch's CBS drama "Big Apple," and Shane Salerno's NBC series "UC: Undercover". As an actor, Stephen has had leading film roles in Todd Solondz's Palindromes, Brett C. Leonard's Jailbait (opposite Michael Pitt), and in Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret. Other film credits include Philip Seymour Hoffman's “Jack Goes Boating,” Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche New York,” Adam Rapp's “Blackbird,” Noah Buschel's “Neal Cassady,” as well as “Meet Joe Black” (dir: Martin Brest), “Noise” (dir: Henry Bean), “Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot” (dir: Todd Harrsion Williams), and TV's "Law and Order." He directed Liza Colon-Zayas' “Sistah Supreme” for Danny Hoch's Hip Hop Theater Festival, Marco Greco's award-winning “Behind the Counter with Mussolini” in New York and Los Angeles, and Melanie Maras's “Kiss Me on the Mouth” (InViolet Rep/CSNY. A former HIV Educator/Violence Prevention Specialist, he lives in New York City. His play, “The Motherf**cker with the Hat,” played on Broadway starring Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale. It received six Tony nominations including best play. His newest play, “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which previously played at the Atlantic Theater Company and the Second Stage Theater, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

From stage to screen, Carl Lumbly is an actor respected for his steadfast talent, versatility and class.  His prolific career includes over 50 credits in television, film and the theatre and extensive critical acclaim. For the stage, Lumbly most recently received glowing reviews for his 2015 performance of ‘Pops Washington’ in “Between Riverside and Crazy” at A.C.T. Earlier in 2015, Lumbly starred in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s “Let There Be Love” at A.C.T. and in San Francisco Playhouse’s premiere of “Tree,” by Julie Hebert.  In 2014, he starred in John Patrick Shanley’s “Storefront Church” at the San Francisco Playhouse and in August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Marin Theatre Company. Lumbly previously starred in Guirgis’ “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” and “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” both at San Francisco Playhouse. He portrayed CIA agent 'Marcus Dixon,' the gentle, mild-mannered field partner to agent 'Sydney Bristow' (Jennifer Garner) for five seasons on ABC's hit drama series, “Alias.” Lumbly began a recurring role in Dick Wolf’s new drama series, “Chicago Med.” He also has a recurring role in CBS’ summer drama series “Zoo,” which has been renewed for a second season. Lumbly recently wrapped production in Berlin on a role in director Gore Verbinski’s upcoming supernatural horror feature, “The Cure for Wellness.” His extensive feature credits include a role opposite Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Men of Honor." In "Everybody's All-American" with Jessica Lange and Dennis Quaid, he starred as a former football player affected by the segregated South.  Other film credits include "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "South Central," "Pacific Heights," "To Sleep With Anger," "The Bedroom Window," "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," "Caveman" and “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation." Lumbly was featured for seven seasons in the hit television series, “Cagney and Lacey.”

An actress and director in the Bay Area for many years, Joy Carlin is a longtime and enthusiastic supporter of PlayGround and a member of the PlayGround Company. 25 years a member of the company at A. C.T., you may have seen some of the plays she directed and watched her perform many characters in the exciting days of true repertory theatre. She was an Associate Artistic Director for five years there, as well as the Interim Artistic Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she also acted and directed. She has also worked at San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Theatreworks, Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz, and at Aurora Theatre Company where she recently directed Sarah Treem’s “The How and The Why.”

Benefit honorary committee members include past honorees Amy Freed, Amy Glazer, Philip Kan Gotanda, Jonathan Moscone, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Carey Perloff, Theresa Rebeck, and Octavio Solis, as well as Dan Cohn & Lynn Brinton, Bill English & Susi Damilano, Lara N. Gilman, and Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston.

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 750 original short plays and 60 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 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.; this event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists.

Event: 2016 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night
Date/Time: Monday, April 11, 2016, 6pm-9:30pm
Location: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA
Tickets: $300-$1,000 (presentation-only tickets start at just $20)

For more information, call (415) 992-6677, or visit

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

January People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The January People's Choice Award goes to Madeleine Butler for her short play, The Story of Our Lives, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on January 18 at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Madeleine!

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

by Madeleine Butler

Cast in Order of Appearance
Alice - A retired professional woman, well-to-do, sophisticated, creative, liberal, feminist, to play age 69. Any race.

Sarah - Alice’s daughter, suburban, well-to-do, conservative, to play age 48. Her race should be a plausible match for her to be Alice’s biological daughter.

Alice’s kitchen, present day.

Please note that stage directions are suggestions only.

A large suburban kitchen, in the process of
being packed up for a move. ALICE is
pulling dishes out of cabinets, wrapping
some, and putting others into a box to

Honey? Is there more packing tape out there?

(Offstage) Just a minute. Coming…

SARAH enters, carrying a roll of packing
tape, which she hands to ALICE.

Here. I think there are about ten rolls left. That should be plenty.


Alice? Alice. Listen to me. This move is a terrible mistake. It’s so impulsive! Sam hasn’t
even been dead a year and you’re not supposed to make decisions right away. And New York? That makes no sense? What will you do in New York?

What won’t I do in New York? Museums, plays, the ballet. I think I’ll take art lessons.

You can take art lessons here in St. Louis, you know.

Oh, God, how did I raise such a provincial child?

I beg your pardon. I am NOT provincial. I am a very sophisticated person and you know it.

Of course you are, dear. I’m sorry.

I just don’t understand why you won’t move in with Jerry and me. You know we’d build you a beautiful in-law unit in the back, and then as you age, we’ll be right there and we can take care of you. Really, that’s what’s best.

Sarah Jane Webster, I am only 69 years old and in excellent health. I do not need you or anyone else to take care of me. Talk to me when I’m 89 and I’ll see how I feel about it.

Well, Sam thought he was in good health, too.

He got hit by a semi, honey. That’s not a health crisis. That’s a cruel trick of fate. Trust me, I’m fine.

And what about the danger? You’re used to the suburbs. What if you get mugged? Or worse? New York is dangerous! It’s filled with criminals.


Pshaw? Nobody says “pshaw.”

I just said it.


Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, February 15, at Berkeley Rep and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.