Thursday, November 19, 2015

November People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The November People's Choice Award goes to Mark Sherstinsky for his short play, Amber’s Outgoing, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on November 9 at the Zephyr Theatre. Congratulations, Mark!

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






AMBER’S OUTGOING
by Mark Sherstinsky

Characters:

AMBER                                  female, 20s to 30s, any race

ABE LINCOLN                     male, 30s to 50s, caucasian
                       
MILLARD FILLMORE          male, 30s to 50s, caucasian

Lights up on AMBER, who is center stage and dialing numbers on her cell phone keypad, pausing briefly between each dial to carefully listen to the voicemail recording menu instructions.

AMBER
(Finally speaking into phone)  Hi!...(Beat)…You've reached Amber!  I’m not available to take your call right now, but please leave a message.   And I’ll get back to you right away.   Promise!...(Beat…takes phone away from face…to self, frustrated)…Stupid!  Ugh.  God.  So Stupid…(mocking self)…Promise!

AMBER dials the series of numbers again to access her outgoing voicemail recording.

AMBER (cont)
(Deep breath) Hi!  This is Amber.  I’m away from my phone right now.  But if you leave me a message, I’ll call you at a convenient time.  Thanks so much.  Bye…(Beat…to self)…At a convenient time?  What the fuck!?  Stupid!  Stupid, Amber!  Who says that?

AMBER dials again.

AMBER (cont)
Hi.  It’s Amber, and you’ve reached my cell phone.  Thanks so much for calling.  I can’t answer the phone right now, but if you leave a detailed message with your name and phone number, I’ll call you back as soon as possible.  Thank you, and have a great day!..(Beat…puts phone away, in despair)

AMBER recovers and starts dialing again.  ABE LINCOLN enters.

ABE LINCOLN
Hello.

AMBER
(Big startled scream)  Ahhh!...Oh god you scared the fucking shit out of me, motherfucker!

ABE LINCOLN
My apologies.  It was not my intention.

AMBER
Who the hell are you?

ABE LINCOLN
(Beat) I’m Abraham Lincoln.

AMBER
(Laughs) Okay.  That’s creepy, man.  You don’t just sneak up on a person and then tell them you’re Abraham Lincoln.  (Beat, a little scared) What do you want?

ABE LINCOLN
To help you with your insurmountable problem.

ABE LINCOLN approaches AMBER but stops as she speaks.

AMBER
Look, back the fuck away right now before I lose my shit…(Indicating her phone)…I’m calling the police.

ABE LINCOLN
No need for the militia.  Please, calm yourself.  You do understand who I am? 

AMBER
(Studies ABRAHAM LINCOLN’s face, beat, speaking to phone) Siri, google images of Abraham Lincoln.  (He bears a striking resemblance) You’re shitting me, right?

ABE LINCOLN
(Thinks about this turn of phrase) I’ve never and would never do that to another person.  I’ve been watching you labor away, and you’re simply amazing—.

AMBER
Watching me?!

ABE LINCOLN
(approaches AMBER) Your steadfasteness, you’re doggedness, unmatched in anyone I’ve seen since Ulysses Grant or Henry Clay, or perhaps Thaddeus Stevens—

-----

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, December 14, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

October People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The October People's Choice Award goes to Jessica Rowe for her short play, Thirst, presented as a staged reading at the Monday Night PlayGround season opener/Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival on October 19 at the Zephyr Theatre. Congratulations, Jessica!

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


THIRST
by Jessica Rowe

THE PLACE
The Desert.

THE CHARACTERS
Cutter – Male – Age 50+ – Any race – Bitter, paranoid, haggard. Dressed in rags.
Avani – Female – Age 10 – Any race – Innocent, yet streetwise. (Actress can be older, but should look and act as young as possible.)
Larissa – Female – Age 30+ – Same race as Avani – Regal, hardened woman.

Night. Darkness. A single light shines down on CUTTER, sitting on the ground next to a blanket. He holds a gun. His head hangs heavy. He coughs, throat dry. He looks around, cautious, then pulls the blanket aside, revealing a hole in the ground: a shallow well. He dips his hand down, cups water and drinks. He savors each drop. Then—A NOISE. He jumps up, lifts his gun. He kicks the blanket back over the hole.

CUTTER
Who’s there? (pause) I heard you, I know you’re there! Come out or I’ll swear to God start shooting—don’t think I won’t!

More noise. Cutter points his gun at the sound, where—AVANI enters, takes a few steps toward him. Stops. Cutter does not lower his gun.

CUTTER (CON’T)
Shit. You shouldn’t be here, girl. You need to get outta here.

Avani turns to go.

CUTTER (CON’T)
Wait—don’t move! I said don’t move!

She stops.

CUTTER (CON’T)
Turn around. That’s right. Do what I say. Don’t think I won’t kill a girl—I have before. I don’t want. Don’t make me do that. Come here.

She takes a few steps closer, slowly, wary.

CUTTER.
What did you see? Tell me.

AVANI
Nothin.

CUTTER
Don’t lie! I heard you out there. You saw it, didn’t you?

He steps closer, threatening her. She nods.

AVANI
Yes. Sorry!

CUTTER
Shit. Shit. How old are you?

AVANI
10.

CUTTER
Where’s your family? How far away are they?

AVANI
I don’t have a family.

CUTTER
Don’t lie, girl. No way could a kid make it this far into the desert alone.

AVANI
They’re dead.

CUTTER
(Suspicious) You sure?

AVANI
Pretty sure.

CUTTER
How’d they die?

AVANI
Fightin over a tanker.

CUTTER
When was that?

AVANI
Long time ago.

CUTTER
(Suspicious) Where?

AVANI
(Annoyed) Long way away. I’ve been walkin forever. I’m thirsty.

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, December 14, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

Friday, November 6, 2015

PlayGround-LA Company in the News Nov-15

See what PlayGround-LA Writers are up to as we prepare for the November 9 round of Monday Night PlayGround.

Jennifer Maisel’s new play, @thespeedofJake (a Kilroy honorable mention for 2015), with original music by Howard Ho, is premiering with Playwrights Arena at Atwater Village Theatre on November 14th.  Tickets at  http://jake.brownpapertickets.com/.  Discount code is SOCCER for some performances.

Tiffany Cascio’s play POPCAST, originally developed at PlayGround-LA, was produced for the radio by Shoestring Radio Theatre. It will be posted on their website November 18th and will air on 111 radio stations in 34 states shortly after. http://www.shoestring.org/srtnatl.html

Velina Hasu Houston has been commissioned by Playwrights’ Arena in association with Center Theatre Group to pen a new play for The Hotel Play, a collaborative play that includes playwrights Paula L. Cizmar, Laurie Woolery, Nahal Navidar, Julie Taiwo Oni, Janine Salinas Schoenberg, and Madhuri Shekar.  Jon Lawrence Rivera, Artistic Director of Playwrights’ Arena, is directing. She has also been commissioned by The Pasadena Playhouse to pen the book for a new musical about the two-time Grammy Award-winning band, Ozomatli.  The project currently is in process.

Forrest Hartl’s No One Wants To Admit They're A Hipster, first written for PlayGround-LA, will premiere at Future Tenant's ten minute play festival this month (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jennie Webb's CURRENCY is being workshopped through LA's Inkwell Theater Development LAB, directed by Annie McVey. CURRENCY is a love story set in changing times of overextended trust and inflated intimacy. After sharing a night of unexpected romance, a 40-something couple is waylaid by even more surprises and left searching for value in a world that’s moving way too fast. Info: http://inkwelltheater.com/

Karen Howes’ GENTLEMAN’S PACT is in the GLO Festival produced by GreenLight Productions (Thursday - Sunday) from Nov 5-15 in Santa Monica which features 5 women playwrights and 5 women directors.

Vincent Terrell Durham will be presenting a stage reading of his new play, The Fertile River, on November 15th.  The talented Miss Telma Hopkins leads the production as Mama Cora.

Allie Costa will be singing at the Rockwell on November 14th as part of FutureFest. Her play Don't Shoot the Messenger Pigeon, originally developed at PlayGround-LA, is currently traveling through Florida with Gypsy Stage Rep. Her play A New Year, also inspired by PlayGround, will debut at the Charles Stewart Howard Playhouse in Los Angeles this December, while Walking After Midnight will premiere at the Queensbury Theatre in Houston.  http://www.alliecosta.com/