Friday, November 4, 2016

October People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The October People's Choice Award goes to Jonathan Kuhn for his short play, Not All Men, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on October 3 at the Zephyr Theatre. Congratulations, Jonathan!

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

by Jonathan Kuhn

THOMAS JEFFERSON, 30s, female, African-American
JOHN HANCOCK, 30s, female, any race
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 70s, female, any race

A Colonial America home office

(THOMAS JEFFERSON, African-American, sits at a desk with balled-up pieces of paper all over it. He concentrates as he writes with his quill, then slams it down and balls up the paper. He sets it aside, then grabs another paper ball and tosses it at a nearby bucket. Misses. He slumps over, frustrated. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN and JOHN HANCOCK enter. HANCOCK is dressed to the nines. FRANKLIN wears a nightgown. JEFFERSON jumps up to enthusiastically greet them.)

Gentlemen, gentlemen! Thank you for responding to my inquiry at such short notice at this inopportune hour.

It’s no bother.

It was only tinkering, as I do. What seems to be the trouble?

(JEFFERSON sits back down, overwhelmed. The other two men sit in chairs across from him.)

Tomorrow is supposed to be a historic day. We are to sign our declaration of independence, and in its current state, it barely qualifies as a pronouncement.

You’re too hard on yourself, Tom.

Let’s hear what you have so far.

First, we must note who was present for this important occasion.

Are you jesting?

You deserve credit for your contribution.

I care not. Or you can thank me another way. Perhaps feature me on our new nation’s currency, so I may feel like royalty.

And of what note would you be worth, Ben?

Something substantial. Perhaps a bill of one hundred dollars.

One hundred dollars! What need is there for such extravagance? Will our average man be purchasing tons of steel on a daily basis?

Gentlemen, let us mark our presence and continue.

(JEFFERSON signs his name to a new piece of paper. Passes it and the quill to HANCOCK, who signs with a flourish.)

My word, John! Leave some room for Ben’s name!

We needn’t be so formal. I’m wearing my night frock for heaven’s sake.

(FRANKLIN signs the paper and studies it as JEFFERSON speaks.)

Ben, hundreds of years from now people will be able to look at this document and know that you and John were instrumental in the finalization of the founding document of this country. You are holding history in your hands.

(FRANKLIN admires it for a moment... then sneezes violently into it. JEFFERSON gingerly takes it back, balls it up, and throws it toward the bucket. Misses.)

Close one, Tom.

You could make a proper game of that.

Hardly. Who would want to watch men throw paper into a bucket?

Perhaps they would pay for people who could actually make it.


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

PlayGround-LA Nov 14 Topic!

“Physical degradation of the natural world is also the degradation of the interior world of the human.” (Thomas Berry, “The New Political Alignment,” in The Great Work, 110). The November 14 Monday Night PlayGround topic has been announced! Last night, PlayGround-LA shared with the PlayGround-LA Writers Pool a special presentation prepared by Planet Earth Arts, in preparation for the topic announcement for the upcoming Monday Night PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival, taking place at 8pm, Monday, November 14 at the Zephyr Theatre. PlayGround-LA playwrights have just four-and-a-half days to generate their original short scripts inspired by the presentation and topic (“Awakening To The Dream of the Earth”) and the top six works will be presented as script-in-hand staged readings on November 14.  Bay Area playwrights working from the same topic presented their top plays at Berkeley Rep on October 17. For more information, online tickets and discount season subscriptions, visit

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 “We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident.”

Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival is a new initiative designed to inspire playwrights to create bold new works for the stage that explore issues of planetary sustainability and social justice. PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann commented, “Our partnership with Planet Earth Arts couldn’t have come at a more crucial time! The Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival represents an incredible opportunity for the Bay Area’s best new writers to help address issues central to our very survival.”

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 800 original ten-minute plays by nearly 300 Bay Area and Los Angeles early-career writers and has commissioned/developed 61 full-length plays by distinguished PlayGround alumni, premiering more than 21 of these through PlayGround’s innovative New Play Production Fund. 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.

Planet Earth Arts is an initiative of the Sustainable World Coalition, sponsored by Earth Island Institute, a (501)(c)(3) non-profit organization. Planet Earth Arts and Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival are made possible by the generous support of Stanford University, Sustainable World Coalition, University of California, Berkeley and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival is a collaboration between Planet Earth Arts, National Center for New Plays, PlayGround and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

PlayGround-LA’s Monday Night PlayGround is

WHAT: Six original short plays by L.A.’s best new dramatists, inspired by the topic “Awakening to the Dream of the Earth.”

WHEN: November 14, 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. 6-admission priority-seating subscriptions are $60.