PlayGround Festival Showcases Six Bold New Plays in Development!

PlayGround announced today six bold new plays by next generation Bay Area and Los Angeles playwrights selected to receive developmental support and public staged readings as part of the 2019 PlayGround Festival of New Works, May 25 and May 26, at Potrero Stage. This year’s featured playwrights include Victoria Chong Der (An American Love Story, 5/25 4pm), Vincent Terrell Durham (Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, 5/26 11am), Julianne Jigour (Three Women in a Wildfire, 5/26 3pm), Jonathan Luskin (Perfect, 5/25 1:30pm), Nicki Spencer (The Ninety Percent, 5/26 1pm), and 2018 Glickman Award winner Jonathan Spector (Repair the World, 5/25 11am). Staged readings are followed by facilitated discussions with the playwrights and provide unique behind-the-scenes access into the creation of significant new plays. Capacity is limited and advance reservations are recommended. For the complete schedule and details, visit http://playground-sf.org/festivalreadings.

Since 2002, PlayGround has developed more than 75 new full-length plays through the PlayGround Festival, including several dozen PlayGround commissions, and the festival has proven to be an unparalleled source of the Bay Area’s (and now Los Angeles’) most important new writers and plays, leading to 29 world premiere productions, including this year’s festival world premieres, Katie May’s A History of Freaks and Ruben Grijalva’s Anna Considers Mars, both of which were developed at past festivals. The 2019 PlayGround Festival of New Works runs May 9-June 16, 2019 at Potrero Stage, featuring more than a dozen short and full-length plays, from developmental readings to full production. For the complete festival schedule, visit http://playground-sf.org/festival.

FESTIVAL READINGS SCHEDULE

Saturday, May 25, 2019
11:00 AM – Repair the World by Jonathan Spector, directed by Jon Tracy
1:30 PM – Perfect by Jonathan Luskin, directed by Katja Rivera
4:00 PM – An American Love Story by Victoria Chong Der, directed by Laura Humphrey

Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:00 AM – Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham, directed by Rondrell McCormick
1:00 PM – The Ninety Percent by Nicki Spencer, directed by Norman Gee
3:00 PM – Three Women in a Wildfire by Julianne Jigour, directed by Paris McCarthy

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Victoria Chong Der (Playwright, An American Love Story) is a PlayGround Resident, Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative, and a PlayGround 2014 Fellow. She has also written scripts and produced plots for several game companies. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College. She is currently spending her time trying to hone her craft and write work that she loves. An American Love Story is Victoria’s fourth consecutive festival selection. Her short works have been featured in Best of PlayGround, The Potrero Nuevo Project, and she co-wrote Vignettes on Love with David Steele.

Vincent Terrell Durham (Playwright, Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids) is a Los Angeles-based emerging playwright who strives to create thought-provoking theatre.  As a former stand-up comedian, he finds humor in the most serious of topics. Vincent is proud to belong to the PlayGround family as well as the Dramatists Guild. He writes to honor the Johnson family. Polar Bears… is a PlayGround/Planet Earth Arts co-commission and Vincent’s first PlayGround Festival selection. He is a five-time Best of PlayGround-LA finalist and recently wrote for PlayGround’s 25th Anniversary Benefit in NYC.

Julianne Jigour (Playwright, Three Women in a Wildfire) earned her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, where she received the West Coast Drama Alumni Clan Award for Dramatic Writing. Her play Bright Shining Sea, commissioned by PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts, premiered in the 2018 PlayGround Festival of New Works, where it was selected as a TBA Awards Recommended Production. Three Women… is Julie’s second PlayGround/Planet Earth Arts co-commission. She recently wrote for PlayGround’s 25th Anniversary Benefit in NYC and is a three-time Best of PlayGround-LA finalist.

Jonathan Luskin’s (Playwright, Perfect) plays have been staged by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayGround, PianoFight, Shotz, and the University of the Pacific. He’s received commissions from PlayGround, Shotz, and the Sloan Foundation, is an alumnus of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, animated for Industrial Light & Magic, and co-founded Flying Moose Pictures. Perfect is Jonathan’s second full-length developed at the PlayGround Festival, following his PlayGround-commissioned Ecce Homo.

Jonathan Spector’s (Playwright, Repair the World) plays including Eureka Day (Glickman Award, BATCC Award, TBA Award, Rella Lossy Award), Good. Better. Best. Bested. and In From The Cold have been produced and developed at Aurora Theater, Custom Made, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Roundabout, Crowded Fire, SF Playhouse, PlayGround, and Just Theater. Upcoming: Siesta Key in BAPF, Eureka Day at Mosaic Theater (Washington DC) and Spreckles Theater (Sonoma). Repair the World is Jonathan’s third full-length developed at the PlayGround Festival.

Nicki Spencer (Playwright, The Ninety Percent) received her Masters degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. She then worked as a writer’s assistant for season one of History Channel’s Knightfall before assisting on FOX’s The Gifted and Proven Innocent. She has been a PlayGround-LA member for four years and has won “Best Of” for three of those years. She currently works for FOX and plans to continue a career in TV writing and producing. The Ninety Percent is the inaugural commission of PlayGround-LA and Nicki’s first PlayGround Festival selection.

ABOUT THE PLAYS

AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY by Victoria Chong Der (5/25 4pm)

Nessie and Kat are platonic best friends who are about to have a baby together when Wyatt enters the picture. Can this soon to be family of three, make room for one more?

POLAR BEARS, BLACK BOYS & PRAIRIE FRINGED ORCHIDS by Vincent Terrell Durham (5/26 11am)

Polar Bears, Black Boys and Prairie Fringed Orchids begins as a hopeful cocktail party that falls prey to the complexities of its hosts and invited guests. The first being a married couple who have gentrified the historically Black neighborhood of Harlem. The latter being several of their gentrified Harlem neighbors. A PlayGround/Planet Earth Arts co-commission.

THREE WOMEN IN A WILDFIRE by Julianne Jigour (5/26 3pm)

As wildfires rage through rural California, Margie and her 13-year-old daughter, Felicity, find refuge in a devoutly religious man. When Margie’s 20-year-old daughter, Jo, returns home to find her family’s life transformed, she senses in her mother’s new male companion a danger more imminent than the fires outside. A PlayGround/Planet Earth Arts co-commission.

PERFECT by Jonathan Luskin (5/25 1:30pm)

Perfect interweaves three stories that explore the nature of disability and genetic enhancement, and what parents will do to give their children the very best advantages in life. The play is inspired by the recent discovery of CRISPR /Cas9, a faster, less expensive, more accurate DNA editing technology.

REPAIR THE WORLD by Jonathan Spector (5/25 11am)

A gathering of old family friends is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a younger brother, who is a juvenile sex offender. A play about harm, intended and not, in the digital age.

THE NINETY PERCENT by Nicki Spencer (5/26 1pm)

All Carlton wanted was the perfect Christmas Eve proposal, but when his girlfriend’s yoga-loving ex-lover, a con-artist masquerading as a senior citizen, and an attempted murder get in his way, he can’t help but wonder — have the stars aligned against him? Through an engaging time-jumping comedic narrative, The NinetyPercent explores the quirky nuances of love and marriage in a levitated version of a “whodunnit” crime tale. A PlayGround-LA commission.

ABOUT PLAYGROUND

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported over 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 850 original short plays and 75 new full-length plays, with 6 more commissions currently in development. PlayGround also operates Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House), a state-of-the-art 99-seat black box theatre in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, home to some of the Bay Area’s leading new play developers and producers, including PlayGround, Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, and Playwrights Foundation. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.