The 2016 Pacific Playwrights Festival
Launched in 1998, South Coast Repertory’s annual Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF) is a major national showcase for new plays. The 19th festival in April 2016 will bring the total number of plays presented in PPF to 123, including many that have become mainstays of contemporary American theatre. Each year’s three-day festival attracts theatre professionals from across the nation, who are drawn by the chance to be the first to see some of the best new plays in the country. These artistic leaders, along with SCR’s devoted new play audiences, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with seven new plays that traverse the theatrical spectrum. And, in between plays, PPF offers a convivial gathering place for the sharing of ideas with colleagues and friends, old and new.
This year’s festival takes place April 22–24 and features five staged readings and two fully staged world premieres during an action-packed weekend.
The New York Times calls SCR “an incubator of major talent … South Coast has mounted an impressive list of acclaimed plays, long before the East Coast establishment got wind of them.” SCR’s 18 previous festivals have included such award-winning plays as Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Noah Haidle's Smokefall and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole.
Tickets for readings are $17 each. Tickets for full productions range in price from
$30 to $77. Packages to see all five readings are available (above, right) for $70.
A PERFECT CIRCLE
by Noah Haidle
directed by Evan Cabnet
dramaturg, Kimberly Colburn
Friday, April 22, at 1 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Jackie is trying desperately to deliver on a long-deferred promise of building a garden for his wife. She’s dying, their son is coming home after a lengthy absence, the weeds in the backyard won’t stop growing, and that haunted train whistle keeps getting closer. Heartbreak with a twist of Haidle.
LITTLE BLACK SHADOWS
by Kemp Powers
directed by May Adrales
dramaturg, Andy Knight
Friday, April 22, at 3:30 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Toy and Colis are children; so are the masters they silently serve on a Georgia cotton plantation. Only at night do the young slaves come alive, to tell stories and dream by the light of fireflies. But their world is about to change forever. Do they dare to come out of the shadows?
CURVE OF DEPARTURE
by Rachel Bonds
directed by Mike Donahue
dramaturg, John Glore
Saturday, April 23, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
On a balmy New Mexico night in a too-small motel room, a “ragtag little group of humans” gathers in anticipation of the funeral that has brought them together. But the dearly departed is the least of their concerns as they all grapple with the curves life has thrown them.
by Meg Miroshnik
directed by Marti Lyons
dramatug, Joy Meads
Sunday, April 24, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
At the beginning of the 20th century, tattooed lady Picky is commissioned by Lady Elizabeth Arterton to do some custom inking. It quickly becomes more than a transaction as desperation, regret and art collide in a world where a woman’s options are corseted.
by Jen Silverman
directed by Bart DeLorenzo
dramaturg, Jerry Patch
Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 24, at 2:30 p.m., in the Nicholas Studio
Sofie is distraught over the disappearance of her beloved cat Wink. Her husband Gregor knows what happened, but he’s not talking—except to Dr. Frans, the oddball shrink he shares with Sofie. But some things won’t stay buried, and when Wink turns up unexpectedly with plans for revenge, things get really wild. Repression is a bitch.
by Eliza Clark
directed by Lila Neugebauer
March 25–April 24 on the Segerstrom Stage
Chiara is a spoiled starlet, 23 going on 45, going on 6. Peter is a pet photographer. He’s also Chiara’s obsessed, middle-aged stalker-fan. It’s Comic Con time, and Peter’s back—in spite of a restraining order—with visions of another dimension, a dream world where he and Chiara will live happily forever. All Chiara wants is for her stage mom and her bodyguard to get lost—preferably, together. Everyone has a fantasy, and soon they’ll collide with each other—and reality.
by Julia Cho
directed by Neel Keller
April 10–30 on the Julianne Argyros Stage
He sits in the back of the classroom, wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap pulled down low…never speaking. His creative writing assignments are violent, twisted—and artless. He scares the other students. He scares the teachers. The kid is trouble. Or is he just mixed up, using his writing to vent, provoke, maybe even protect himself? Gina is the only teacher willing to get close. But at what risk?