Thursday, November 30, 2017

November People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The November People's Choice Award goes to Jonathan Josephson for his short play, Dave’s Epic 40th Birthday Party, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on November 13 at the Zephyr Theatre. Congratulations, Jonathan!

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

Dave's Epic 40th Birthday Party
Jonathan Josephson

Character Breakdown
Dave - Good-looking, almost 40 M, newly divorced, drives a BMW, kind of a douche.
Max - A little awkward, generally good-natured, drives a used Prius, bit of a dork, about 40 M.

Lights rise on swanky living room.
There’s a bar cart to one side, some
snacks, maybe some decorations.
The doorbell rings. Dave, dapper and
chill, crosses from the kitchen to

(to the door)
One sec!
(to Alexa)
Alexa - play Dave’s Super Sweet 40th Birthday Party Awesome Mix.

Alexa plays Europe’s “The Final
Countdown” over the home stereo system.
It’s loud. Dave rocks out for a second
then crosses to the door - he opens it
to discover Max.

Oh Hi.

(yelling over the music)
Hey Dave, happy birthday!

Max hands Dave a bottle of wine.

Thanks, thanks for coming- is that-?

A bottle of wine! Customary for a happy birthday!


It’s really loud!


I said-

I heard you kid- hold on- Alexa - music, off! Please.

The music turns off. Max looks around.

Great place you have here.

Thanks. There’s a full bar outside and in the next room
there’s a spread that will make your draw drop - caviar,
prime rib off the bone, shrimp as big as lobsters. On the
deck there’s, well later - when more people get here we’ll
check that out. Can I get you a drink?

I’ll take whatever. And thanks again for the invite, it was
super nice of you to include me. In your awesome party thing.

Any time.

I don’t know if you saw my response to the Evite. I said
“thanks for the invite” right on the Evite.

I didn’t really look at it after I sent, what did you want to
drink? Do Julio? Blue Lable?

Whatever. I am easy.
(not cool)
Sooo easy.
It’s been what - 15 years?

Probably, more than that. I didn’t know you were still in town.

Dave hands Max a drink.

I wasn’t for a while. But I’m back. Got the invite, here I am.

Max drinks - he coughs and gasps uncontrollably.

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, December 11, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Company in the News Nov-2017

See what PlayGround-LA Writers are up to as we prepare for the November 13 round of Monday Night PlayGround.
Christopher Belen Aguilar co-produced and starred in the short film THE HIERARCHY OF NEEDS which will be premiering on November 19, 2017 at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival in their "Sex Sells Shorts" series.

Diana Burbano is one of the writers for Center Theatre Group’s sketch comedy show, “Chisme Y Queso” Performed at Eastside LUV in Boyle Heights She is also a member of Heal The Divide; you can read her latest contribution here:

Andrew Joseph Perez has just closed IN THE HEIGHTS at Musical Theatre West and finished releasing the second season of the webseries “Fixing Shakespeare with Communication” on his comedy page,

Mildred Lewis has finished her first VR script for a French company that is putting together a series of shorts based on war letters. The series will commemorate next year's 100th anniversary of WWI.

Joe Samaniego’s play, ME, MYSELF & THE APOCALYPSE, will be playing at UCLA On Nov. 16,17 &  18 at 8:00 p.m.

Jonathan Josephson's immersive adventure, THOTH'S LABYRINTH, runs through November 11 as a part of Wicked Lit 2017 ( His short play, BUBBIE IT'S COLD OUTSIDE, will be part of Force of Nature's 'Twas The RUSH Before Christmas, Nov 30-Dec 3. (

October People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The October People's Choice Award goes to Nicki Spencer for her short play, The Honeymoon, presented as a staged reading at Monday Night PlayGround on October 9 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!

Nicki Spencer

LAVENDER – Female – Age 30 –Any Race – Trying everything she can to stay upbeat and positive.
WARREN – Male – Age 35 – Any Race – A good man who committed a crime when he was desperate, young, and dumb, and is paying the price. Feeling guilty that his new wife is paying for his mistake.

LIGHTS UP. A dingy room. Dark, dirty. A BED at center and a table with two chairs DL. The mattress on the bed is old and dirty, covered with a large, questionable stain. WARREN sits in one of the chairs. LAVENDER enters. They embrace as if they haven’t seen each other in years, as if they both thought they would never see each other again in this close way. They let the embrace last.

God I miss this.
(LAVENDER kisses him.)
How’ve ya been baby?

You know how I’ve been, I talked to you a few days ago on the phone.

I know… but that’s different. And I kinda realized we didn’t talk much about you or work or your painting? How’s the painting?

It’s fine.

Any new exciting projects?

Look, hon, I love you, and I love talking to you, but I was kinda expecting, since this is our first meeting since we got married and since you’ve been… in here, that there’d be a little less talk and a little more…

LAVENDER gets in close to WARREN. He lets her.

What are these clothes?

Oh, yeah. Well, I spent the past month searching for the perfect dress for today. Seriously, I tried on like 20 dresses, and I then got here and the guard made me change into these. Can you believe that? Said my dress was too stimulating and it wouldn’t be good for me to walk passed the other inmates in it.

(Intrigued) Stimulating huh?

But it wasn’t! It was very nice. Something I’d wear to church, ya know— if I were one of those people who went to church. Anyway— (She puts on a sexy, seductive voice) Now I get to turn you on in these used rags that have probably never been washed and smell like BO.
(She does a sexy little dance. Smacks her butt. It’s cute, funny.)
Yeah, you like that baby?
(He laughs, but then there’s a switch to sadness.)

I’m sorry they made you change. I didn’t know you couldn’t wear a dress.

(Lavender notes his heavy tone. She won’t allow it.)
Don’t worry about it, babe. I wasn’t really planning on wearing the dress all that long if you know what I mean. Actually, I think we should take these rags off right now.
(She leads him further into the room towards the bed. She stops.)

Everything ok?

What is that?


That stain right there in the middle of the bed.

Oh yeah. Dammit, I meant to cover that with something.
Is that blood?---

Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, November 9, at the Zephyr Theatre and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Monday Night PlayGround's November Bounty

“As you sow, so shall you reap.” (Galatians VI) Monday Night PlayGround returns to the Zephyr Theatre on Monday, November 13, at 8 PM with a special pre-Thanksgiving performance, featuring six new 10-minute Plays, inspired by this month’s topic, “REAP WHAT YOU SOW.” The following week in Berkeley, PlayGround’s 6 finalists’ plays will be presented at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Monday November 20, at 8 PM. Tickets are $15-$30 and the 5-admission series for the Northern and Southern California subscriptions are just $75. For tickets or more information, visit

PlayGround is the only theatre company in California to have Statewide, Northern, and Southern California, New Play Competitions.  PlayGround’s 78 Member Statewide Writers Company, primarily based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, compete to write original plays in four-and-a-half days. The tremendous diversity of California has infused the writers pool with many writers new, not only to California, but to the rest of the country as well.

Members of the 2017-18 78 Member Statewide PlayGround Writers Company have just four-and-a-half days to generate their original ten-minute plays inspired by the month’s  topic. The top six scripts in both Northern and Southern California will each receive an hour-and-a-half rehearsal and a professional script-in-hand staged readings at at either West Hollywood’s  Zephyr Theatre (Southern Writers Pool) November 13, 8 PM; or at  Berkeley Rep’s Peet’s Theatre (Northern Writers Pool) on November 20 8 PM.

The 36 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).
The 42 Playwrights of the San Francisco 2017-18 PlayGround Writers Company are: Lynn Aylward, Kathy Boussina, Madeleine Butler, Karen Catalona, Nara Dahlbacka, Rob Dario, Victoria Chong Der+, Ai Ebashi, Nancy Fishman, Elizabeth Flanagan, Jerome Joseph Gentes+, Akaina Ghosh, Lauren Gorski, Ruben Grijalva+, Garret Jon Groenveld+, Tanya Grove, Karen Hartline, Devony Hof, Sam Hurwitt, Genevieve Jessee+, Melissa Keith+, Kate Keleher, Katie May+, Alanna McFall, Jeanie Ngo, Cheryl Ossola, Ishai Padawer, Lana Palmer, Erin Marie Panttaja+, Ken Prestininzi+, Madeline Puccioni, Marsha Roberts, Annette Roman, Cleavon Smith+, Nic Sommerfeld, Aimee Suzara, Jon Tracy, Mary Weikert, Steven Westdahl, Zoe Young, Maury Zeff+, Lesli Zephyr, and Ignacio Zulueta+ (+ Resident Playwright). 

Recent PlayGround topics have included: “In the Beginning…,” “Artificial Intelligence,” and, as part of a now-four-year collaboration with Planet Earth Arts and Stanford University, “Awakening to the Dream of the Earth”. The top six plays 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 in Los Angeles (and twenty-fourth in the Bay Area). 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.

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.
WHERE: The Zephyr Theatrte, 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

WHEN: Monday, November 13, 2017 at 8pm                        
Additional Season Dates:
December 11, 2017 at 8pm (Holiday Celebration)
January 8, 2018 at 8pm (Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival)
February 12, 2018 at 8pm
March 12, 2018 (Musical Theatre Night)

TICKETS: Tickets are $15 general admission ($30, priority seating) online in advance and $20 general admission at the door, subject to availability. 5-admission series subscriptions are just $75 and include priority seating.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit