Friday, April 22, 2016

Best of PlayGround 20 Lineup Announced!

PlayGround caps off its 2015-16 season with BEST OF PLAYGROUND 20, the centerpiece of this year’s PlayGround Festival of New Works ( The Best of PlayGround features six fully-produced ten-minute plays (each play is presented at every performance), selected from the 36 works developed as part of the season’s Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and more than 180 submissions received this year. Monday Night PlayGround has engaged and inspired a growing and enthusiastic audience with new plays inspired by a single topic each month, including “A Very Hitchcock Xmas”, “Artificial Intelligence” (part of PlayGround’s S.T.E.M. Night), and “The Water Plays” (as part of the second annual Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival). Individual tickets are $25-$45 and All-Festival Passes (including priority seating tickets to all festival activities) start at $80. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at

The six ten-minute plays to be presented at this year’s Best of PlayGround are:
The River God by Madeleine Butler, directed by Jeffrey Lo
I'm Really Sorry About This by Patricia Cotter, directed by Tracy Ward
Ophy's Apothecary by Karen Macklin*, directed by Reena Dutt
Digging Ditches in Fresno by Isaac Ontiveros, directed by Steven Anthony Jones
Boys Beware by Kirk Shimano**, directed by Katja Rivera
The Lunatics by Josh Williams, directed by Jim Kleinmann
* Winner, 2016 June Anne Baker Prize
** 2016 PlayGround Fellowship Recipient


The River God by Madeleine Butler
A drought-inspired post-apocalyptic parable on the power of love… and running water!

I'm Really Sorry About This by Patricia Cotter
An examination of artificial intelligence, the nature of reality and the role of SIRI. Can I help you?

Ophy's Apothecary by Karen Macklin
A young woman, struggling with a clinically-depressed boyfriend and micro-managing father, gets career counseling from life coach Anna K, with a chance to transform her destiny and those of her real-life “cast mates”!

Digging Ditches in Fresno by Isaac Ontiveros
A haunting play of two generations of Latina women in Fresno, struggling with life, death, union organizing and overtime, while learning to cherish the only thing that matters, the precious time we have with those we love.

Boys Beware by Kirk Shimano
A tongue-in-cheek but poignant look back at 1969, the aftermath of the Stonewall riots, and the birth of the gay pride movement.

The Lunatics by Josh Williams
A behind-the-scenes look at the government’s failsafe against a failed moon landing and the movie by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick no one would ever get to see.


MADELEINE BUTLER just completed her third season with PlayGround. Her produced short plays include A Beautiful Evening and The River God (Monday Night PlayGround), as well as The Box and A Comfortable Life (PCSF Sheherezade Festivals). She’s currently at work on a full-length play, along with other creative writing projects.

Patricia Cotter is an Emmy Award winning, Groundling Theater Alum. Plays: The Rules of Comedy Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival (Heideman Award finalist); The Surrogate; 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson) Musicals: The Break Up Notebook; and Ladykillers. Patricia was the receipt of June Ann Baker Prize 2014. 

KAREN MACKLIN’s plays have been staged in readings and productions in SF, NYC, & Seattle with companies such as Actors Theater SF, Playground, SF Playhouse, and Nylon Theatre. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been a finalist for the Kennedy Center ACTF, Humana Festival, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Isaac Ontiveros was born in Santa Maria, California and has lived and worked in Oakland for most of his adult life. As a member of Critical Resistance, Isaac is involved in grassroots efforts to stop the violence of policing and imprisonment. He is a life-long artist, has written and co-authored many articles, and currently works as trade union researcher.

KIRK SHIMANO is returning for his third Best of PlayGround. His work has been presented by PianoFight, Wily West Productions, and the San Francisco Olympians. His “Portal: The Musical” will be performed at San Francisco Theater Pub in July and his “Princess and the Porn Star” is currently in development as part of the Custom Made Theater Company’s Undiscovered Works series.

Joshua Williams is a writer, director, translator and graduate student at U.C. Berkeley. His plays have been developed or produced at U.C. Berkeley, C.U. Boulder, Princeton University, SUNY Buffalo, Capital Fringe Festival, Theatre Intime, New York Musical Theatre Festival, CAP 21, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest and PlayGround San Francisco.


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 750 original short plays and 61 new full-length plays, including more than eighteen 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

WHAT: BEST OF PLAYGROUND 20, featuring the best short plays by the Bay Area’s best new writers. Includes works by Madeleine Butler, Patricia Cotter, Karen Macklin, Isaac Ontiveros, Kirk Shimano, and Joshua Williams.

WHERE: Thick House , 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN: June 2-19, 2016; Thu-Sat at 8pm / Sun at 7pm.
Thursday, June 2, 8pm (Preview, PWYC)
Friday, June 3, 8pm (Press Night, PWYC)
Saturday, June 4, 8pm (Opening)
Sunday, June 5, 7pm (Playwrights Post-Show Talk)
Thursday, June 9, 8pm (Young Playwrights Project curtain-raiser)
Friday, June 10, 8pm (Young Playwrights Project curtain-raiser)
Saturday, June 11, 8pm (Young Playwrights Project curtain-raiser)
Sunday, June 12, 7pm (Young Playwrights Project curtain-raiser, Playwrights Post-Show Talk)
Thursday, June 16, 8pm
Friday, June 17, 8pm
Saturday, June 18, 8pm (June Anne Baker Prize Night)
Sunday, June 19, 7pm (Closing, Playwrights Post-Show Talk)

TICKETS: $25-$45. All-Festival Passes (including one priority seating ticket to each festival event, including Best of PlayGround, Hella Love Oakland, The Empty Nesters, and more!) start at just $80. For more information about Best of PlayGround 19 or to purchase tickets, call (415) 992-6677 or visit For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, visit


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