Monday, September 29, 2014

"Opium Den" is Rich With Stories

Playwright Julie Marie Myatt.
What could bring a heroin addict and a decorated war veteran together?

That’s the question explored in Opium Den, a new play by Los Angeles-based playwright Julie Marie Myatt. She is SCR’s Andrew W. Mellon Playwright-in-Residence. The play opens South Coast Repertory’s 29th season of the NewSCRipts reading series on Monday, Oct. 13.

At first glance, Lizzie is a privileged housewife who has made selfish life decisions, and Mac is a hero of the war in Afghanistan. Matthew—Lizzie’s brother and the photojournalist that made Mac famous—has reluctantly agreed to let them crash at his apartment in New York City. As Matthew’s colleagues nose around for more newsworthy material, Lizzie and Mac attempt to take control of the stories told about them in their own documentaries. Opium Den offers a glimpse into an impromptu halfway house for people who can't get enough of the dramas of war and the underbelly of society, and are caught in an endless well of desire for a more meaningful life.

Opium Den will be directed by Crispin Whittell. The Los Angeles-based Whittell directed last season’s world premiere of The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois by Adam Rapp at SCR’s 2014 Pacific Playwrights Festival

Past NewSCRipts readings include Donald Margulies' Collected Stories, Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain and Amy Freed's Freedomland, all of which went on to New York productions. Plays selected for the NewSCRipts series have earned six Pulitzer Prize nominations; Margaret Edson’s Wit won the prize in 1999.

SCR launched the NewSCRipts play reading series in 1985 to bring audiences into the process of creating new works with emerging and established playwrights. After each public reading on the Julianne Argyros Stage, audience members engage in lively exchanges with the playwright and are active participants in the play’s development by providing valuable feedback for the writer.

South Coast Repertory’s NewSCRipts series is generously underwritten by Elaine J. Weinberg.

Opium Den is one-night-only: Monday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m., on the Julianne Argyros Stage.

Learn more and buy tickets.

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