Friday, October 6, 2017

PlayGround-LA Oct 9 Selections!

“From small beginnings come great things.” (American Proverb) PlayGround-LA kicks off its 6th season on Monday, October 9, 8 PM at the Zephyr Theatre with an all-new season of the celebrated Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series. The topic for the first round, announced last Friday, is “IN THE BEGINNING...”. Members of the recently announced 2017-18 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool had just four-and-a-half days to generate their original ten-minute plays inspired by the topic. The top six scripts (see below) will each receive an hour-and-a-half rehearsal and a professional script-in-hand staged reading at the Zephyr Theatre on October 9. PlayGround writers in the Bay Area were given the same prompt and their finalists will be presented at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on October 16.  Tickets are $15-$30 and 6-admission series subscriptions are just $75. For tickets or more information, visit http://playground-la.org/monday.
The October 9 selected plays/playwrights are:
In the Beginning God Created Adam & Steve by Vincent Terrell Durham, directed by Tamiyka White; No Expectations by Elayne Heiveil, directed by Frieda de Lackner; Turn On, Tune In by Mildred Inez Lewis, directed by Rondrell McCormick; Stacey Gets Mad by Scott Mullen, directed by Jim Kleinmann; Balloon by Mercedes Segesvary, directed by Paris McCarthy; and The Honeymoon by Nicki Spencer, directed by Greg Bryan.
Ten days before the designated Monday, October-March, a topic is announced and emerging playwrights in the Greater Los Angeles Area have until 2pm the following Tuesday to submit a short script. A panel of judges selects six winners, whose entries are cast over the weekend and then rehearsed with the area’s best professional actors and directors in a whirlwind ninety minutes each before being performed as script-in-hand staged readings. Recent topics have included: “We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident,” “A Cautionary Tale,” and “Awakening to the Dream of the Earth” as part of a now-four-year collaboration with Planet Earth Arts and Stanford University. 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 sixth year. 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 Gala.
The playwrights of the 2017-18 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool are: Matt Ackels, Nayna Agrawal, Christopher Aguilar, Diana Burbano, Kathleen Cecchin*, Allie Costa*, Meagan Daine, Matt DeNoto, Vincent Terrell Durham*, Elayne Heilveil, Susan C. Hunter, Daniel Hurewitz, Jen Huszcza, Julianne Jigour*, Starina Johnson, Mark V. Jones, Jonathan Josephson, Arthur Keng*, Jonathan Kuhn, Mildred Inez Lewis, Dana Lyman, Rhea MacCallum*, David Meyers, Alison Minami, Scott Mullen, Rosie Narasaki, Nicholas C. Pappas*, Andrew Joseph Perez, Brittny Roberts, Jessica June Rowe*, Richard Ruyle, Joe Samaniego, Mercedes Segesvary*, Mark Sherstinsky*, Nicki Spencer*, and Jennie Webb* (* past Best of PlayGround finalist).
PlayGround-LA is the first regional expansion of the celebrated Bay Area playwright incubator and theatre community hub, PlayGround(SF). PlayGround was launched in San Francisco in 1994 by co-founders Jim Kleinmann, Brighde Mullins and Denise Shama. In 1996, Kleinmann became PlayGround’s first Artistic Director. Since its founding, PlayGround has developed and staged over 850 original ten-minute plays by 220 Bay Area and Los Angeles early-career writers and has commissioned/developed 75 full-length plays by distinguished PlayGround alumni. In the process of staging those works, PlayGround has helped to identify some of the leading emerging writers and, at the same time, has engendered the creation of a true community of theatre artists, bringing together hundreds of local actors, directors and playwrights. For most if not all of the participating writers, PlayGround is the first professional staging their work has received and serves as their introduction into the professional theatre community.
PlayGround’s 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, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, among others. Directors and actors participating in PlayGround are among some of the most distinguished theatre professionals, regularly working on leading local stages.


Company in the News Oct-2017

See what PlayGround-LA Writers are up to as we prepare for the October 9 round of Monday Night PlayGround.
Scott Mullen has two short plays, ALICE and ONE NIGHT IN THE CEMETERY, in Neo Ensemble's "Tales From the Scrypt" show in Hollywood (October 6-22), while his play WHEELCHAIR is still running in North Hollywood as part of Above the Curve Theatre's "Dark Stories".
Jonathan Kuhn's short play All That We See Or Seem was performed as a stage reading at the Chromolume Theater as part of Exposition Review's Short Play Series.
Starina Johnson’s plays ALL KINDS and BORDER TOWNS have been selected to Broads' Word Ensemble's Fall Staged Reading Series on Saturday, October 14th at 8PM and Sunday, October 15th at 2PM. Tickets are $8 and are available at http://broadswordensemble.com/shows/la-broads/. Also, her play Static will be performed in NEO Ensemble Theatre's spooky evening of ten-minute shorts called Tales from the Scrypt, which opens this weekend! Tickets available are at http://www.neoensembletheatre.org/
Andrew Joseph Perez is playing Sonny in Musical Theatre West's In The Heights running Oct. 20-Nov. 5 and, as always, there's new comedy at YouTube.com/morningsandmondays
Multiple PlayGround-LA writers have been selected for LA Broads, a staged reading festival produced by Broads' Word Ensemble and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. Only two performances:  Saturday, October 14th at 8 PM and Sunday, October 15th at 2 PM at the Flight Theatre at the Complex in Hollywood. Playwrights: Nayna Agrawal, Tiffany Cascio, Allie Costa, Aja Houston, Uma Incrocci, and Starina Johnson. Directors: Elkin Antoniou, Lesley Asistio, June Carryl, Allie Costa, Gloria Iseli, Rachel Manheimer, Rasika Mathur, and Desiree York. Tickets: http://broadswordensemble.com/shows/la-broads/.
Two of Allie Costa's plays, Unfinished Business and Safe Distance, were both selected for The Fear Festival, running October 20th through October 22nd at Roebuck Theater in New York City.  http://www.alliecosta.com
Jonathan Josephson's Thoth's Labyrinth is included in "Wicked Lit 2017," an award-winning immersive theatre event at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery (Altadena, CA). Produced by Unbound Productions, Sept. 28-Nov. 11; limited availability, tickets at wickedlit.org.
Christopher Belen Aguilar’s short play Insect will be in an evening of original short plays from the EastWest Players David Henry Hwang Writers Institute at the Santa Monica Playhouse: Tuesday, October 17th at 7:30p. 
Mildred Lewis has been selected for the 2017 PLAY LA Workshop supported by Humanitas. (http://humanitasprize.info/welcome/?page_id=1319)
Nayna Agrawal's play, Catcall, will be presented at Bootleg Theater on Sunday, October 8th at 11 am. Tickets are free and can be found online at the Bootleg Theater website. In addition, her one-act play, Slut, will be presented October 14 and 15 via Broads World Ensemble. Tickets are $5 in advance and can be purchased on the BWE website.

Mark V. Jones just wrapped post on a short film he wrote, produced and directed called The Abortion Clause. The full-length play, Daughters of the Kush, for which he did set design and construction, previews Oct 12th and opens Oct. 13th at the Stella Adler Theater (6773 Hollywood Blvd). Runs three weeks; Friday - Saturday 8PM, Sunday 3PM. 
David Meyer's play We Will Not Be Silent recently premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in West Virginia. The play tells the true story of Sophie Scholl, a German college student who led the only act of organized, public resistance to the Nazis during World War II. The play was featured in the New York Times, and NPR recommended the play, calling it "truly magnetic." Further regional productions are upcoming, and David hopes to find the West Coast premiere soon.
Diana Burbano is one of the writers for Center Theatre Group’s Chisme y Queso, performances ongoing: https://www.centertheatregroup.org/tickets/around-la/2017/chisme-y-queso/. Her play Fabulous Monsters was recently performed at San Diego Rep’s first Latinx Play Festival http://www.sdrep.org/amigos.php
Brittny Roberts is currently taking submissions for the 3rd Annual Halloween Monologue-A-Looza at Samuel French Bookshop October 28th from 1-4pm. Monologues must be original, Halloween themed, 3 minutes or less and PG 13. Please send submissions to broberts@samuelfrench.com by Oct 25th to be considered.
The anthology-style sci-fi/thriller web series THREADS, for which Meagan Daine wrote a few episodes, was recently released on Go90. Her favorite hilariously creepy ep: "The Attendant."
This summer, Rhea MacCallum reached the milestone of having her 50th play produced when The Red Truck premiered at the City Theatre of Independence in Independence, MO.
Jennie Webb is proud to have been part of MADlab 2017; her new play FOOTPRINT, directed by Laura Stribling, will close the First Peek Readings Series on Sunday, October 8 at 1pm. http://movingarts.org/madlab-2017-first-look/





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Best of PlayGround-LA Lineup

PlayGround-LA, Los Angeles’s incubator for a new generation of playwrights, caps off its fifth season on Monday evening, May 8 at the Zephyr Theatre with the Best of PlayGround, a one-night gala celebration of the best playwrights and short plays selected from more than 160 submissions and 36 works developed as part of the season’s Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series. The Gala will feature an all-star performance of the six Best of PlayGround winners. Tickets start at $20-$40 and are available through the Box Office at 323-992-6766 or online at PlayGround-LA.org/bestof. All proceeds support PlayGround-LA’s playwright incubator programs.

Best of PlayGround

The six plays to be presented in this year’s Best of PlayGround are:
Take Your Daughter to Work by Tiffany Cascio
Shooting at the Universe by Vincent Terrell Durham
Bluster Bound by Arthur Keng
Exceeding the Purchasable Calories by Rhea MacCallum
All or Nothing by Nicholas C. Pappas
Interesting Question, Collette by Nicki Spencer

About the Playwrights

Tiffany Cascio (Take Your Daughter to Work) is a writer and TV producer from Sacramento. This is her fourth season with PlayGround-LA and her work’s featured in their 2014 & 2015 “Best Of” Anthologies. This summer her full-length play, Thanksgiving, will be produced for Hollywood Fringe and she can’t stop smiling about it!     

Vincent Terrell Durham (Shooting at the Universe) is a playwright who first honed his story telling skills as a stand-up comic. He’s authored over thirty short plays and five full length pieces, including The Fertile River. A powerful play about a southern family’s attempt to escape the sterilization orders of the North Carolina Eugenics Board.

Arthur Keng (Bluster Bound ) is a Los Angeles-based playwright and actor. Monday Night PlayGround selections include Antic Resolutions (Best of PlayGround-LA 2016), A Settled Matter, Dream Enforcement, Infiltrated Learning, Over the FallsForced Position, Bluster Bound, The Dream Scenario, and I Told You. MFA Acting, University of Southern California.
His
Rhea MacCallum’s (Exceeding the Purchasable Calories) plays have been produced on six continents.  She is published with Smith & Kraus, Pioneer Drama, Original Works and Heuer Publishing.  A member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP, LAFPI and ALAP, she holds a BA from USC and MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, NSU.  www.rheamaccallum.com  @rheaplaywright

Nicholas C. Pappas (All or Nothing) is a playwright, dramaturge, and director. Plays: Including Shooter (publisher: Playscripts), The Ballad of 423 and 424 (Heideman Award, Actor's Theatre of Louisville), and Fatty (Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor). Nick received his MFA from San Francisco State. @NicholasCPappas and nicholascpappas.com for more info on Nick’s directing, dramaturgy, and film projects.

Nicki Spencer (Interesting Question, Collette) is a screenwriter and playwright from Glendale, California. She graduated from USC's Masters in Professional Writing program in 2015 and spent most of last year working in the Czech Republic on an upcoming TV drama for the History Channel.

About PlayGround-LA

The mission of PlayGround-LA is to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre. PlayGround-LA has developed a unique model for identifying and nurturing the best new writers, helping them to build a significant body of original work, and strongly weaving these artists into the family of local theatre professionals. PlayGround pairs early development playwrights with established, professional actors and directors and fosters the artistic relationships that develop.

Ten days before the designated Monday, October-March, a topic is announced and emerging playwrights in the Greater Los Angeles Area have until 2pm the following Tuesday to submit a short script. A panel of judges selects six winners, whose entries are cast over the weekend and then rehearsed with the area’s best professional actors and directors in a whirlwind ninety minutes each before being performed as script-in-hand staged readings. Previous topics include “We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident,” “Zero-Sum Game,” and “A Cautionary Tale.”

PlayGround-LA is the first regional expansion of the celebrated Bay Area playwright incubator and theatre community hub, PlayGround(SF). PlayGround was launched in San Francisco in 1994 by co-founders Jim Kleinmann, Brighde Mullins and Denise Shama. In 1996, Kleinmann became PlayGround’s first Artistic Director. Since its founding, PlayGround has developed and staged over 850 original ten-minute plays by 220 Bay Area and Los Angeles early-career writers and has commissioned/developed 71 full-length plays by distinguished PlayGround alumni. In the process of staging those works, PlayGround has helped to identify some of the leading emerging writers and, at the same time, has engendered the creation of a true community of theatre artists, bringing together hundreds of local actors, directors and playwrights. For most if not all of the participating writers, PlayGround is the first professional staging their work has received and serves as their introduction into the professional theatre community.

PlayGround’s 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, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, among others. Directors and actors participating in PlayGround are among some of the most distinguished theatre professionals, regularly working on leading local stages.

For more information, visit http://PlayGround-LA.org or follow PlayGround on Facebook (http://facebook.com/PlayGround.LosAngeles) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/PlayGround_LA).

WHAT: Best of PlayGround Gala / A performance of the best short works from the fifth season!

WHEN: Monday, May 8, 2017 @ 8pm

WHERE: Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California 90046

HOW: (323) 992-6766  or http://PlayGround-LA.org/bestof
TICKETS: $20-$40.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017-18 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool Deadline

Applications for the 2017-18 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool are being accepted, now through May 31, 2017. 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. For specific eligibility requirements and responsibilities, see below.

To be eligible, writers must reside within the five counties of the Greater Los Angeles Area. To apply for a place in the 2017-18 writers pool, playwrights must submit a maximum ten-page double-spaced script (previously produced and unproduced scripts eligible) via email to scripts<at>playground-la.org as Portable Document Format (.pdf) attachment. Applications must be received by 11:59pm PST Wednesday, May 31, 2017. The script must have the playwright's name, address, email and phone number at the top of the first page of the script and include a detailed cast breakdown, 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 the Best of PlayGround (2014-2017) 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

ANNOUNCEMENT & POOL REQUIREMENTS

The 2017-18 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool will be announced on or before September 1, 2017. There will be a mandatory meeting of the Writers Pool at 6pm on September 10, 2017 (location to be confirmed). Writers Pool members must commit to submitting for at least four of the six Monday Night PlayGrounds in any season. The submission of a script to Monday Night PlayGround grants PlayGround-LA 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 and publish the script in the "Best of PlayGround" anthology. Upon publication, PlayGround-LA 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>playground-la.org.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The March People's Choice Award goes to Nicki Spencer for her short play, Interesting Question, Collette, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on March 13 at the Zephyr Theatre. Congratulations, Nicki!

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

Interesting Question, Colette
by Nicki Spencer

Cast Breakdown
ALEXA – Female – Any Age – Any Race – A robot with a monotone voice but expressive feelings that only the audience can see.
KEITH – Male – 20s-30s – Any Race – Too charming, always looking.
COLETTE – Female – 20s-30s – Any Race – Smarter than she thinks she is.
CINDY – Female – Any Age – Any Race – Giggles and wears a lotta pink.

*Note – Keith and Colette can never see Alexa. Whenever she speaks, they act as if they’ve
heard her voice from the cylindrical machine (Echo) at center. Alexa is free to touch Keith and
Colette, but they cannot react to her touch.

(LIGHTS UP. There is a table DR. Two chairs where Keith fiddles with a
cylindrical shaped machine (the Echo) at C. He is reading from and
Instructor’s Manual. Colette ENTERS holding groceries.)

KEITH
Look what I got us!
(She kisses him before unloading the groceries on the table. Keith points
to the Echo.)

COLETTE
What’s that?

KEITH
It’s that Amazon Echo. The boys at the office love it. Ya know, one of those machines where
you call her name and she does stuff for you.

COLETTE
Her? She?

KEITH
Alexa. She’s the robot who lives inside there. I’ll show ya. I was just about to finally turn her on.

COLETTE
How about you turn me on instead.
(Colette gets nice and close to Keith. Seductive.)

KEITH
Yeah, in a minute babe. This is important.

COLETTE
Excuse you?

KEITH
I mean… can we wait just one second please? While I get Alexa online?

COLETTE
I’m not sure I want one of these things in our house. My friend Stephanie said the minute
you turn it on, someone is always listening.

KEITH
Your friend Stephanie… isn’t she the one who has a relationship with a tree?

COLETTE
It’s a sequoia… but I still think she has a point. I dunno if I feel comfortable with Big Brother
listening in on us. Creeps me out.

KEITH
You’re being paranoid.

COLETTE
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get you. Didn’t you ever
read 1984?

KEITH
Oh please. She won’t be listening to us all the time. She does, however, play music, dim the
lights, tell us the news and weather, and perform many other convenient tasks all through voice
command. I’m getting turned on as I’m turning it on.
(Keith pushes the button on the machine. It turns on with a
“WOOOOOPDING!” – ALEXA ENTERS UR. When she speaks, her voice
is automated and robotic. She studies her surroundings. Explores the
room, Keith, and Colette. They cannot see her, but she can see them.)

ALEXA
(robotic) Hello. You have now successfully connected to your Amazon Echo. My name is Alexa.

KEITH
Alexa, how many cups are in one quart?

COLETTE
4.

ALEXA
There are four US customary cups inside one US quart.

COLETEE
Tell us something we don’t know.

KEITH
You’re so smart. You ask her something.

COLETTE
Okay, Alexa, (thinking…) how many democrats are needed to win the house so we can impeach
the president?

ALEXA
I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying.

COLETTE
You see, even your new gadget doesn’t know what to do with Trump.

---

Come see the best short plays from the entire season at the Best of PlayGround Gala, on Monday, May 8, 2017, at the Zephyr Theatre. Click here for more info.