Monday, March 28, 2016

2016-17 PlayGround Submission Guidelines!

Applications for the 2016-17 PlayGround Writers Pool are being accepted, now through July 31, 2016. 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

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> as Portable Document Format (.pdf) attachment. Applications must be received by Midnight Sunday, July 31, 2016. 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 2012 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


Applicants will be notified of selections on or before August 22. Selected writers must attend a mandatory company meeting at 7pm on Monday, August 29 at Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco. The 2016-17 PlayGround Writers Pool and Resident Playwrights will be publicly announced at the PlayGround Season Kick-Off/Alumni Celebration on Monday evening, September 19, 2016. 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>

March People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The March People's Choice Award goes to Karen Macklin for her short play, Ophy’s Apothecary, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround WOMENARTS NIGHT on March 21 at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Karen!

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

by Karen Macklin

OPHY, female, Danish, young woman, 18-ish
ANNA, female, Russian, life coach, 40s/50s-ish
BOY, male, Danish, rich and brooding, OPHY’s boyfriend, 18-20ish
(The characters should not speak with distinguishable accents.)

Note about BOY
BOY is a movement role, not a speaking role. As OPHY relates her story to ANNA throughout the play, OPHY and BOY will, at times, mime the events that OPHY speaks about. I have placed parameters in the script for the entrances and exits of BOY, but these can be altered by the director.


(Two chairs, stage right or center stage, facing one another. It is ANNA’s office. She is looking over some papers, awaiting her next client. OPHY enters.)

Welcome. Sit down, please.

Hello, Anna. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.

Of course. How can I help you?

It’s actually not about me, it’s my boyfriend. I wanted him to come to you himself but he doesn’t like to ask for help.

(BOY enters, stands in background. He is depressed, self-involved.)

That’s alright. I only work with women anyway.

(BOY plays out the action in the following lines with OPHY, but not necessarily all of it. She may be following him as he walks up and down across the stage.)

Oh, okay. Well, the thing is, my boyfriend, his father died recently and he’s been really depressed. I wish there was a way that I could help him. He stares at the walls all day, and wanders the streets all night. We live next door to each other, so I see him, up the block, down the block, talking to himself about the pointlessness of life. He still wants to have sex, but he won’t actually talk to me. I’ve been trying to console him, but nothing helps. He doesn’t even notice I’m there sometimes.

How were things between the two of you before his father died?

Oh, Anna, we were so in love.

(We see BOY writing a letter and enclosing a locket in it. Then giving it to her as she speaks, but in flirty exchange for a kiss or a grope. Then going back to ignoring her.)

He used to write me these beautiful letters. And he gave me a locket with his photo in it. I can’t wear it because no one is supposed to know about us, especially our parents, and we both still live at home, so it’s hard. But I keep it under my pillow. It means a lot to me.

So … the relationship is a secret?

I guess. He asked me not to tell anyone. His family has a ton of money, so they micromanage him. I think he just wants to keep things under wraps.

How does that make you feel?

What do you mean?

Are you happy? Are your needs being met?

(Laughing.) Oh, I don’t have needs!

Yes you do. Everyone has needs. What do you want in your life?

I don’t know. I never thought about it before. But this isn’t about me. It’s about—

(She looks at BOY, who is doing something very self-involved.)

(Interrupting her.) This is about you. This is all about you.

(BOY’s ears perk up. He’s not happy to hear this.)

Look, our time is up. My advice to you right now? Spend a little time this week thinking about who you are, not what everyone else wants you to be. Think about it as if your life depends on it. See you next week?


Join us on Monday, April 11 at Berkeley Rep for the 2016 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night and find out which six playwrights and plays from this year's Monday Night PlayGround season will be featured in Best of PlayGround 20!

Friday, March 11, 2016

8th annual Young Playwrights Contest (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)

PlayGround has announced the topic for the 8th Annual Young Playwrights Contest: MISTAKEN IDENTITY. We invite aspiring high school writers and theatre artists, currently enrolled in grades 9-12, to submit their own ten-minute plays inspired by this topic. The topic is intended as a jumping-off point and all forms of theatrical expression are encouraged. Submissions will be accepted until April 18th, 2016 (EXTENDED DEADLINE). Four plays will be selected as finalists and receive professionally staged readings concurrent with the 20th Best of PlayGround Festival in June. For complete guidelines, visit 

“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 eighth year of the Bay Area-wide Young Playwrights Contest. The Young Playwrights Contest represents 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.

High school students from the Bay Area nine counties are invited to submit original short scripts inspired by the assigned topic by the deadline of Monday, April 18, 2016 (EXTENDED DEADLINE).

Past Young Playwrights Project finalists include: Camilla Dwyer (SOTA ’17), Rocko Bauman (Berkeley High ’15), Neil Binnie (Miramonte High School ’17), Jake Rosenberg (Jewish Community High School of the Bay ’14), and Christine Lim (SOTA ’15), and Alona Bach (Berkeley High ’11).

SUBJECT:  Young Playwrights Project Contest
MORE INFO: Jim Kleinmann, Artistic Director; 415.992.6677;;

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 750 original short plays and 61 new full-length plays, including more than eighteen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. For more information, visit  For more information on the Young Playwrights Project, visit

Monday, March 07, 2016

PlayGround Night at Whale's Wake Premiere!

Join the PlayGround community on Sunday, April 17 at 7pm for a special “PlayGround Night” performance of WHALE’SWAKE, a new play written and directed by Amy Sass and produced by Ragged Wing Ensemble in association with PlayGround (an Equity-approved project). Originally commissioned by PlayGround, the world premiere production features a cast of six, including PlayGround Company Members David Cramer and Anne Darragh. In Whale’s Wake, dad is dead, Emma is home, and now there’s a whale. A clan’s grief for its lost patriarch surreally bends the rules of society and the laws of nature. As the family struggles with economic ruin, the ocean seems to share their devastation. Long estranged, sharing only haphazard traditions, they contend over how to honor the difficult dead, an auction gone horribly wrong, a disappearing casket of ashes, a house that won’t stay put, and a suicidal whale. Funny, sexy, incantatory. The play runs April 15-May 7 at The Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, in Oakland. PlayGround Night at WHALE’S WAKE is Sunday, April 17 at 7pm. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online in advance at

As playwright, director, actor, choreographer, and visual artist, Amy Sass (Playwright/Director) brings a fierce voracity to her creative practice. Her early training in classical acting, avant-garde performance, puppetry, mask, and dance set the foundation of artistic rigor that has become the cornerstone of RWE’s ethic and aesthetic. A member of Playwright’s PlayGround, she has won the People’s Choice Award for her short plays: Significant People and Structural Instability as well as the June Anne Baker Commission Award. Her plays have appeared in PlayGround’s Spring Festival, the Bay Area One Acts, Fury Factory and the Eugene O’Neill Foundation Selected Shorts. She specializes in creating new methods of artistic collaboration and story building, designing RWE’s multidisciplinary approach to the development of original work. A passionate teacher and a fierce arts advocate, she has taught theater to youth at many Bay Area institutions, most notably as the Founder and Director of Prospect Sierra School’s vibrant Drama Program. Most recent Writer/Director credits include: Time Sensitive, Maybe Baby, OPEN, Handless, No Outlet (a short film) and So Many Ways To Kill A Man. She is pleased to be featured at Mercury 20 for her collaboration with Eric Bohr creating the art installation: Everything Is Permanent. Other collaborators include: Mettle Theater, C.A.F.E, foolsFury, Bald Productions and Shotgun Players. In all her endeavors, Amy works from the gut, using theater & art as vehicles for healing, empowerment and social change.

Ragged Wing Ensemble is a physical, ensemble theater company that began producing original work in the East Bay in 2004. As critic Lily Janiak wrote for HowlRound, Ragged Wing “specializes in original, ensemble-created work with wildly inventive but precise physicality. It takes on unwieldy, abstract ideas and makes them dramatic through created or reinvented myth.” In the past decade, Ragged Wing has produced seventeen professional shows (most of them world premieres), established a thriving youth training program, enchanted thousands of audience members, and conceived and built a new, shared, multidisciplinary arts venue in downtown Oakland, The Flight Deck, which houses seven resident companies and several arts organizations. Ragged Wing has been honored as “Best New Theater Company in the East Bay” by the East Bay Express, with a “50/50 Applause Award” for 2012-13 from The International Centre of Women Playwrights for gender parity in producing the work of women playwrights, and The Flight Deck was named “Best New Arts Venue” by the readers of the East Bay Express in their 2014 Best Of poll as soon as it opened. “Ragged Wing is one of those local independent companies always worth seeing.” (Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet), especially in our beautiful new Oakland home.

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 750 original short plays and 61 commissioned full-length plays. For more information, visit

PlayGround Announces 2nd Annual WomenArts Night!

PlayGround and WomenArts are partnering once again on “WomenArts Night,” a special Monday Night PlayGround evening featuring short plays that will celebrate women in the arts and exemplify gender parity in theatre. The topic for this year’s WomenArts Night will be announced next Friday, March 11 and PlayGround writers will have four days to generate their original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. The top six plays will be performed on the set of Berkeley Rep’s current show on Monday, March 21 at 8pm at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  Tickets and discount flex passes for Monday Night PlayGround can be purchased online at

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the thirty-six playwrights in the PlayGround Writers Pool and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. Recent topics have included: “A Very Hitchcock Christmas,” “Artificial Intelligence,” and “The Water Plays” as part of a now-two-year collaboration with Planet Earth Arts. The top six plays from each month 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-second 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 750 original short plays and 61 commissioned full-length plays. For more information, visit

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 twenty-first year, 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 1,400 SWAN events in 26 countries over the past eight 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:

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 and WomenArts will present an evening of short plays, inspired by a topic to be announced March 11.

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

WHEN: Monday, March 21, 2016 at 8pm

TICKETS: $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) in advance, $20 at the door.  4-admission priority seating flex passes are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit