Friday, February 5, 2016

PlayGround-LA Feb 8 Selections!

PlayGround-LA continues its fourth season and celebrated monthly staged reading series, Monday Night PlayGround, on February 8 at the Zephyr Theatre with six original short plays inspired by this month’s topic… SECRETS OF THE HEART. Los Angeles-based playwrights in the PlayGround-LA Writers Pool had four-and-a-half days to write and submit scripts inspired by the topic. The six finalists (see below) will be presented as script-in-hand staged readings at 8pm on February 8. For tickets, low-cost flex passes or for more information, the public can call (323) 992-6766 or go online at

The Feb 8 Monday Night PlayGround selected plays/playwrights are: X O X O X O X by Vincent Terrell Durham, directed by Paris McCarthy; Emergency Operation by Lauren Gorski, directed by Jim Kleinmann; The Girl on the Beach by Elayne Heilveil, directed by Frieda de Lackner; Forced Position by Arthur Keng, directed by Jim Kleinmann; Murmurs the Word by Mercedes Segesvary, directed by Tamiyka White; Uruguay by Mark Sherstinsky, directed by Lee Sankowich. 

Ten days before the designated Monday, a topic is announced and the thirty-six playwrights in the PlayGround-LA Writers Pool 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 “Origin Story”, “Sea-Change”, “Holiday Spirit”, “I Have A Dream...”, and last month’s “Resolutions”.

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 750 original ten-minute plays by 250 Bay Area and Los Angeles early-career writers and has commissioned/developed 60 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.

The PlayGround-LA 2015-16 Writers Pool are:
Megan Breen*, Ron Burch*, Tiffany Cascio*, Kathleen Cecchin*, Allie Costa*, Vincent Terrell Durham*, Jennifer Fawcett, Lauren Gorski, Forrest Hartl*, Elayne Heilveil, Howard Ho, Velina Hasu Houston, Karen Howes, Susan Hunter, Julianne Jigour, Ian Kaye, Arthur Keng, Eric Krueger, Jonathan Kuhn, Aurelio Locsin, Dana Lyman, Jennifer Maisel, Laura McGhee, Alison Minami, Tracy Potter, Jordan Rawlins, Carolina Rojas*, Jessica Rowe, Mercedes Segsevary*, Jesse Shao, Mark Sherstinsky*, Nicki Spencer, Ann-Giselle Spiegler, Chelsea Sutton, Jennie Webb*, JP Williams
* Best of PlayGround Award recipient

PlayGround and PlayGround-LA’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, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, and Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, 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 or follow PlayGround on Facebook ( and Twitter (

PlayGround-LA’s Monday Night PlayGround is

WHAT: Six original short plays by L.A.’s best new dramatists, inspired by the topic “Resolutions”

WHEN: February 8, 2016 at 8pm

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

HOW: (323) 992-6766  or

ADVANCE TICKETS: $20, priority seating; $15, general admission; $10, student admission with ID. $20 general admission tickets at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability. 4-admission priority-seating flex passes are $60.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

PlayGround-LA Company in the News Feb-16

See what PlayGround-LA Writers are up to as we prepare for the January 11 round of Monday Night PlayGround.

Cock & Bull Theatre Company in Chicago has commissioned Megan Breen to adapt Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts scheduled for a fall 2016 production. Also, James Madison University will produce Megan’s desert noir play Serpentine Pink in the fall of 2016 as well.

Jennie Webb’s full-length CURRENCY, for which she received the Max K. Lerner Playwriting Fellowship last fall, has been selected for production this spring by Inkwell Theater at VS Theatre, directed by Annie McVey. Her ‘TIL IT’S OVER, written for PlayGround-LA and included in last year’s “Best Of” Anthology, was named a Little Black Dress Ink Semi-Finalist.

Vincent Terrell Durham has been tapped to create the opening number for the 2016 Truth Awards.  The award ceremony will be held March 5, 2016, and will honor the contributions of the Black LGBTQ community and our allies.

Kathleen Cecchin is pleased to announce that her short film PAM has been accepted into the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and will be screened at LA Live's Regal Cinema in downtown Los Angeles in February 20.

Eric J. Krueger produced the second season of the web-series Roof Access that has been released every Sunday in January. Check out the first and second season here:

Allie Costa will be performing at Samuel French's Monologue-a-Looza on February 12th. Her play The Intervention Will Be Televised, a funny look at the effects of binge-watching TV shows, is currently running at Whitefire Theatre in Los Angeles through February 23rd. Her play Tofurkey Day runs February 17th-21st at the Fantastic.Z New Works Festival at Eclectic Theater in Seattle. Allie is co-directing 35MM: A Musical Exhibition, which runs February 26th through March 19th at The Complex in Hollywood. Stay tuned for the new post-apocalyptic series Remain Calm - Allie is a guest star in the second episode.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The January People's Choice Award goes to Nicki Spencer for her short play, Goodnight Joanne, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on January 11 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!

by Nicki Spencer

JOANNE – Female – Age 25 –Any Race – A highly capable woman, except when it comes to dating.
FRANK – Male – Age 27 – Any Race – Handsome but awkward in a painfully relatable way.
FRANK’S RESOLUTION – Male – Any Age – Any Race – Very suave James Bond type with the sexy British accent to match.
JOANNE’S RESOLUTION – Female – Any Age – Any Race – Geeky librarian type who is not at all easy to charm.

*Note – The Resolutions are free to wander around and react to the actions of Joanne and Frank as they watch them. For most of the play, Frank’s Resolution and Joanne’s Resolution cannot see each other or interact.

 A friendly porch with a red front door at CENTER. FRANK’S
They both watch FRANK and JOANNE enter. FRANK and
JOANNE walk towards the porch. They linger in front of the door.

Wait… so your brother and sister accidentally kissed? Oh my God. That’s horrible!

Horrible for them. Hysterical for the rest of mankind.

They both laugh until it dissipates into silence. They stare into
each other’s eyes. It’s that “ will they won’t they” kiss kind of
moment. The silence lasts for too long. FRANK leans his head in
ever so slightly for a kiss. He pulls it back. It’s awkward.
FRANK’S RESOLUTION snaps his fingers twice and approaches
stuck in time.)

What are you doing?

Ah! Who the hell are you?

You’re just staring at her. It’s two seconds away from being terribly creepy.

Joanne? Joanne! What’s wrong with her?

I didn’t have to interfere during your date, but this is the pivotal moment of the night, and so far it’s an utter disaster. (FRANK waves his hands in front of JOANNE. She remains a statue.) She can’t move. I stopped time for a bit. You needed to take a moment. And since I’m your New Year’s Resolution—

Wait, you’re my… what?

FRANK’S RESOLUTION pulls out a sheet of paper. Reads.

“I will do everything in my power to not enter the Friend Zone in 2016. To be a bold, move-making ladies man.” This is yours, correct?

Well, yeah. Actually that is my resolution.

Well, I am the embodiment of your resolution. I’m here to make sure you are not put in the Friend Zone. I’m here to help you be bold with the ladies, to go for that mindboggling kiss that makes her knees weak! No longer are you Frank Stumbaugh, King of The Friend Zone. Now you will be Frank Stumbaugh, lover extraordinaire.

So… you’re here to help me on this date?

Exactly. And you managed very well during dinner; I didn’t have to interrupt once!

Yeah well… It was a blast…she’s really great…

Yes she is. Now, what are you going to do to repair this moment?

This moment isn’t so bad…

Frank, it is probably the most awkward encounter I’ve ever witnessed. You must take action! Otherwise you’ll muck it up like you did with every woman you dated in 2015.

It wasn’t… every woman.

Annie, Julianne, Tayah, Caroline.

What about em?

All Friend Zoned. Nancy and Pam on the other hand were just plain weirded out by your behavior and therefore never returned your phone calls. And Stephanie got a restraining order because you broke her dog’s leg.

That was an accident! I swear!


Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, February 8, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

December People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The December People's Choice Award goes to Jessica Rowe for her short play, Psycho, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on December 14 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!

by Jessica Rowe

A Restaurant.

Mike – Male – 20s/30s – Any race – Well-meaning but misguided dudebro.
Jenna – Female – 20s/30s – Any race – Fast-talking blonde, petite, also a bit of a bro.
Waiter – Male – 30s/40s – Any race – Just trying to do his job.

Late night. A romantic restaurant, table for two.
MIKE and JENNA are just finishing their meal. JENNA groans and pushes her plate away.

Oh my god, stop me. I’m such a whale, I can’t believe I ate all that!

You can kinda destroyed that spaghetti, babe.

I totally did. I hate myself.

You’re like, the coolest chick I know. And trust me, I’ve dated a lot of crazies—

Enter the WAITER.

Did we save room for dessert? I have to say, our Christmas dessert menu is superb!

What’ve you got?

Tonight we have a flourless hazelnut chocolate cake, as well a holiday five-spice tarte tatin and, a personal favorite, our famous gingerbread tiramisu—

(Interrupting) Oh my god stop talking. No, sorry. I mean, it sounds amazing, but I can’t.

For the tiramisu, we also have a special champagne pairing. Very delicious (he leans in toward MIKE, whispers) and very romantic.

Come on babe, let’s share. If you eat it all, I’ll pretend I did it so you don’t feel bad.

Oh, alright! God.

I’ll be right back.

He exits.

(Suspicious—but in a good way) Mike. You didn’t need to do that.

I want this to be romantic.

Tonight was nice! Consider me romanced.

Yeah. But I mean, special.


He reaches for his pocket—

It’s almost Christmas, and I’m not good at this stuff—

He pulls out a velvet box—

(To herself) Ohmygod.

But I really like you, Jens, and I wanted to do something nice—

He slides it across the table to her—

So I hope you don’t mind getting your gift a little early this year.

(As she picks up the box) Mike, oh my god, Mike, I can’t believe this—

She opens the box—
And freezes.

…so? Do you like it?

It’s a bird.

Yeah! It’s for our first date—just like tonight, we came to dinner here, and then walked over to the three-dollar theater and saw that old movie. Y’know, the one that was basically that M.Night Shyamalan film about plants killing us all, but with birds. Fucking birds man. That shit was awesome.

(In shock) Awesome.

He leans forward to show her, in fact, how awesome it is.

See? It’s covered in those, uh, Sarwoski? Saroffski? The really nice crystals girls like.

…Is it a pin?

Yeah! That way you can put it wherever you want. (He finger-guns at her) Am I thoughtful boyfriend or what?


Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, February 8, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.