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.
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


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.)

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

What’s that?

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.

Her? She?

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

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

Yeah, in a minute babe. This is important.

Excuse you?

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

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.

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

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.

You’re being paranoid.

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

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.)

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

Alexa, how many cups are in one quart?


There are four US customary cups inside one US quart.

Tell us something we don’t know.

You’re so smart. You ask her something.

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

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

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.