Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Seven New Plays in Three Days

In just a matter of days, South Coast Repertory will once again become the new-play capital of the country, with the arrival of the most exciting three days in our season—the annual Pacific Playwrights Festival, April 26-28.

Developing and producing new plays has always been central to SCR’s mission, and the reason is simple: Nothing is more exhilarating—for theatre artists and audiences alike—than being in on the birth of a possible future classic. SCR has provided its audiences with plenty of such memorable experiences over the years—from the world premiere of Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winner, Wit, to the very first performances of such extraordinary plays as Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel and Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories.

The Pacific Playwrights Festival is our most prominent way to shine a spotlight on the best new plays we come across each year. In addition to the two world premiere productions that serve as cornerstones for the festival, we also feature five staged readings that give audiences an early look at plays that are still evolving. Actors rehearse for four days, with the guidance of their director and playwright, and then they read the play to the audience, with script in hand. Sometimes the reading includes basic staging to support the story-telling, but often actors simply sit in chairs or stand in front of music stands; and there’s no set, no costumes, no special lighting—which means you in the audience play a vital role in the event, by imagining how the finished production might look as you listen to the actors read the playwright’s words. It’s interactive entertainment at its best.

This year’s festival features a diverse line-up of plays, from a caper comedy about a family of Chinese-American con artists, to a meticulously observed chronicle of a love affair, to a wild, surprising night with three old friends who attend a college reunion carrying a lot of baggage with them. You’ll see some very familiar faces among the actors for the productions and readings.  And the energy and excitement—both on stage and in the lobby between plays—is infectious. There’s something amazing about experiencing all seven plays in the span of three days—but if you’re not sure you have the stamina for that, then sample more selectively. Either way, you’ll be part of the most exciting weekend in SCR’s year.

See the line up for the 2013 festival.

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