|SCR commissions: (L to R) Vietgone by Qui Nguyen (Pictured: Maureen Sebastian and Raymond Lee), Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil (Pictued: Assaf Cohen and Anjali Bhimani) and Future Thinking by Eliza Clark (Pictued: L to R, Arye Gross and Enver Gjokaj)|
Over the years, SCR has commissioned more than 300 plays from just over 200 playwrights. We asked the writers to share some of what SCR's new play development program has meant to them, what they’ve learned or a few memories from their time with SCR.
Most recent SCR commission: You, Nero
One of the weirdest paradoxes of a playwright's life is that the night you long for the most is the one you fear the most—and that is opening night. On opening night of my first play with SCR, Freedomland, I was huddled in existential pain in the empty administrative offices—feeling so much like everything in my life was riding on this play and its reception. Founding Artistic Director David Emmes took that occasion, before the show, to offer me a second commission with SCR. It was one of the kindest things anyone could have done: to show a vote of faith before the votes were in. I've never forgotten it.
Most recent SCR commission: Vietgone
I honestly don't think I could have written Vietgone without the support of SCR. After a decade of running my own company and pioneering of my own geek theatre genre, I became very accustomed to making work in a specific manner. SCR encouraged me to find new ways to approach my work, which gave me the courage to dive deeper than I had before. As a writer of color with a mission to create work that inspires young people of color, I feel it is so vital to have a larger institution like SCR behind me to show that "yes, there is indeed a home for us" in the mainstream, not just on the fringes. I think my relationship with SCR is one of the most important relationships I've made in my career so far.
Most recent SCR commission: Future Thinking
I've felt incredibly supported by SCR during this process. I've been given the opportunity to develop my play at various different stages—from inception through production. It's been invaluable to the creation of this process and I'm so grateful. I really wanted to write a play that would speak to the SCR audience. I ended up focusing my play on a Southern California phenomenon—Comic Con. The play deals with fame and Hollywood, but on a deeper level, it's a discussion of the role that parents and children play, framed within the world of television and fantasy. Because of SCR, I've worked with incredible actors and my amazing director, Lila Neugebauer, from the beginning. It's been an amazing adventure.
Currently commissioned as part of the CrossRoads program
SCR’s mission has always been about finding and producing new American plays. But that requires a fine-tuned approach to each work, because not all plays are production-ready. They require a deep-tissue development process that I have been quite fortunate to have been part of since 1989. In that time, the theatre not only developed about 10 of my plays, many of which went on to be produced by SCR and at other venues across the country, but they also developed me. I was a young writer who didn’t know what I was doing when I first arrived, but with each workshop, each reading, each note-session I earned my stripes. I developed my own way of working and realized my vision and identity as a Latino playwright in this country.
Most recent SCR commission: Office Hour
I learned that I was not immune to getting stuck and running out of inspiration. I learned that, at a certain point, I needed faith more than discipline. I also learned that when I lost faith in myself, it was crucial to have people in my life that still did. And knowing that SCR was out there, waiting for a play of mine, really made a crucial difference. It made me force myself to go on and write something no matter what.
Aditi Brennan Kapil
Most recent SCR commission: Orange
Who knew a journey through Orange County would lead me to write one of the most personal plays I've ever written? I certainly didn't set out to. But I think, in retrospect, there's something about coming in as a blank page that allows the most urgent stories to rise up and attach themselves to paper. I'm deeply grateful for that discovery.
Learn more about the 19th annual Pacific Playwrights Festival