The 2020 Pacific Playwrights Festival
Launched in 1998, South Coast Repertory’s annual Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF) is a major national showcase for new plays, part of The Lab@SCR, nine programs devoted to the development of new works and musicals for the American theatre.
The 23rd festival in April 2020 will bring the total number of plays presented in PPF to 147 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 landscape. 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 24–26 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 22 previous festivals have introduced such award-winning plays as Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band, Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole.
by Erika Sheffer
dramaturg, John Glore
Friday, April 24, at 1 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
He never appears, but the title character is ever-present in this epic suspense drama. It’s 2004 and Raya, a crusading journalist, runs afoul of the Russian government and its notorious leader. Raya will risk family, friends and freedom to uncover that rarest of commodities—the truth.
THE FITZGERALDS OF ST. PAUL
book, music and lyrics by Christie Baugher
directed by Danny Mefford
musical direction by Alby Potts
dramaturg, Jerry Patch
Friday, April 24, at 4 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Memory play becomes gin-soaked vaudeville as two ghosts of the Jazz Age finally get to tell—and sing—their tragic story. This chamber musical offers a fictionalized reimagining of the infamous marriage of F. Scott and Zelda.
by Shayan Lotfi
directed by Jennifer Chambers
dramaturg, Andy Knight
Friday, April 24, at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 26, at 2:30 p.m., in the Nicholas Studio (No late seating)
Amir seeks asylum in the UK after fleeing persecution in his native Iran, but he’s haunted by the love he left behind. Now he's attempting to 'settle' in a city full of strangers—looking for anything or anyone that might allow him to finally feel at home.
by Tony Meneses
directed by Dámaso Rodríguez
dramaturg, Molly FitzMaurice
Saturday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Raul has always reminded his family of el borracho—the drunk in the Mexican game of chance, lotería. In the final months of Raul’s life, his ex-wife Alma is forced to care for the man she thought she’d never have to see again, while his son David has secrets he’s longing to share.
by Anchuli Felicia King
directed by Nana Dakin
Sunday, April 26, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Chinese-American lawyer Julie Chen mounts a case against the American tech company that fortified China’s “great firewall” and put Chinese citizens in mortal danger. This dazzlingly theatrical play is part corporate thriller and part legal drama—on a global scale.
THE SCARLET LETTER
by Kate Hamill
directed by Marti Lyons
dramaturg, John Glore
March 28 – April 25, on the Segerstrom Stage
Named The Wall Street Journal ‘s 2017 Playwright of the Year, Kate Hamill is celebrated for her female-centered classics—and SCR has her latest world premiere! Get ready for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s acclaimed masterwork in a most riveting staging. Two years after her husband goes missing, intelligent, strong-willed Hester Prynne has a child and gets branded an adulteress. Further defying Puritan ideals, she refuses to reveal the father’s identity and is condemned to wear a scarlet A to mark her shame. Then her estranged husband shows up—bent on revenge.
Recommendation: Age 14 and above.
I GET RESTLESS
by Caroline V. McGraw
directed by Tony Taccone
dramaturg, Andy Knight
April 12 - May 3, on the Julianne Argyros Stage
Hazel just landed a job at a top law firm, bought a condo and married Mitch, who adores her. Then an accident on her honeymoon leaves her unable to remember anything about the past six years. Adrift in unanswered questions, Hazel must find who she is without knowing who she was. And what about a husband who’s now a stranger? An eerily captivating drama about the mysteries of second chances by an up-and-coming new playwright.
Recommendation: Age 14 and above. Contains adult language.
2020 PPF PLAYWRIGHTS PANEL
Points of Inspiration and the Contemporary Play
Sunday, April 26, from 9-10 am.
Join us for a conversation with the 2020 festival playwrights, moderated by Kristin Leahey, assistant professor of dramatic literature and dramaturgy at Boston University. Leahey and the playwrights will discuss the points of inspiration behind the festival plays—and how each piece responds to the world today. The PPF playwrights include Christie Baugher, Kate Hamill, Anchuli Felicia King, Shayan Lotfi, Caroline V. McGraw, Tony Meneses and Erika Sheffer.
Read more about the Pacific Playwrights Festival.
See the list of play titles presented during previous Pacific Playwrights Festivals.