The Road Theatre Company’s 11th annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF11) will do an encore stream of all 25 plays from this year’s festival! SPF 11 extends to August 23! All play readings will stream live on The Road Theatre’s website, Facebook and YouTube!
Each play reading will be followed by a moderated talkback with the playwright, director and cast. Closed captioning will be provided for both the readings and talkbacks.
ROAD THEATRE COMPANY and Taylor Gilbert, founder/artistic director together with Sam Anderson, artistic director, remain committed to their meaningful mission to produce and develop new work for the stage. They are thrilled to announce in this, their upcoming 29th season, the 11th annual Summer Playwright Festival (SPF11).
This year’s festival features all new works by playwrights from across the U.S. executive director Tracey Silver says “The Road Theatre’s Summer Playwright Festival will embark on its very first online festival! SPF 11 has selected 26 playwrights whose unique voices will be heard over 12 days. I am thrilled to celebrate these new works with our audience as we embrace these new and innovative online readings.”
Taylor Gilbert, Founding Artistic Director, recalls the very moment the festival launched in 2010: “It’s just an idea” said Scott Alan Smith, Associate Artistic Director emeritus, “Let’s start a playwrights festival!” We said “Sure, why not?” Now, 11 years later we are reinventing it. From the up close and personal in our theatre, to now going online and intimately into your virtual devices, we are excited to bring you a festival like we have never presented before. So sit back, get comfortable and enjoy the ride at The Road’s 11th Annual Summer Playwrights Festival!”
Artistic Director Sam Anderson reflects on this year’s venture into the virtual: “Planning for the 11th annual Road Summer Playwrights Festival began seriously in January. The largest festival of its kind in the country took place in two theatrical venues over 8 magical days every summer over the past ten years, usually presenting 35-40 staged readings of new plays with live music every night, and talkbacks, food, drink and community. Then COVID-19 hit this year and the theatre was in shock like the rest of the world. Over some serious and thoughtful conversations, and with the newfound use of Zoom as a meeting place, the Road Artistic Board began to see past this challenging and frightening period and to do what artists are best at: reinvent, recreate, embrace change and do it in the safest way possible: online. So please join us beginning July 30 through August 16 as we celebrate the work of writers, directors, actors and technicians doing what theatre artists long to do the most: sharing stories. Join us on the Road.”
WEEK ONE – JULY 30 TO AUGUST 2
Thursday, July 30 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“AND HERE YOU ARE, LIVING, DESPITE IT ALL” by Harrison David Rivers
Directed by Amy Harmon
In a suburban kitchen somewhere in middle America five women gather to comfort a grieving mother.
Friday, July 31 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“REYKJAVÍK” by Steve Yockey
Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
Reykjavík is a collage of darkly comedic, intimate, and sometimes magical stories set against the backdrop of the Northern Lights.
Saturday August 1 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“BALLS” by Austin Cauldwell
Directed by Tim Van Patten
When 20 year old Paul is diagnosed with testicular cancer, he and his girlfriend are suddenly forced to look further into their future than any young couple should, and confront their own ideas about what it means to be to be in a relationship, to be a man, and even to be woman.
Saturday, August 1 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“PICTURES FROM HOME” by Sharr White
Directed by Judith Moreland
In 1981 Photographer Larry Sultan set out to create a portrait of his parents, Jean and Irv. A decade later… he was almost finished. Sharr White’s adaptation of Sultan’s extraordinary photo memoir depicts a volatile yet loving exploration of twentieth-century American optimism — deceptively banal, deeply personal, ultimately human.
Sunday, August 2 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“AGATHE” by Angela J. Davis
Directed by Saundra McClain
Inspired by the woman who served as Rwanda’s president for just fourteen hours, on the first night of the Rwandan genocide, AGATHE is a true story of heroism, hope, and human connection during a time of unspeakable tragedy. A recipient of a 2020 New American Voices Award and 2020 Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist.
Sunday, August 2 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
FIVE ONE ACT PLAYS
“AND ONE MORE THING…” by Lonnie McGuire
Directed by Cate Caplin
Outside a retirement community, two residents meet for a friendly chat. One thing leads to another, and another and “One More Thing…”.
“CATCHING UP” by Emily Jerez
Directed by Nancy Fassett
Set in present time, two siblings in LA catch up via Zoom with their mother in New York revealing a complex dynamic of passive aggression that runs as rampant as COVID-19.
“THE BORDER TROLL” by Steven San Luis
Directed by Jacob Smith
After a dragon destroys their village, Theo sails across a sea, treks through a jungle, climbs over mountains, and crosses a desert, but there’s one more obstacle to face before they can reach safety: Three riddles from the Border Troll.
“OFF THE INTERSTATE WITH MAIZIE AND WILLOW” by John Yarbrough
Directed by Carlyle King
Maizie and Willow, a promise, a pillow, one very bleak day.
“IT’S HOT IN THE KITCHEN” by Patti Veconi
Directed by Susan Diol
A short play about how we confront and handle change and choice in both ourselves and those we love.
WEEK TWO – AUGUST 6 TO AUGUST 9
Thursday, August 6 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“DINNER” by Lisa B. Thompson
Directed by Jayongela Wilder
Dinner is a dramatic comedy about the first meeting between the black American parents of Joanna, and her fiancé Jonathan’s Nigerian parents at the couple’s Oakland home. As Joanna struggles to prepare an elaborate Nigerian meal to impress her future in-laws, and educate her parents, she learns about more than intricate West African recipes. The cultural clash between the contemporary Nigerian upper class and the African American middle class threatens the new couple’s bond. This play asks not “guess who’s coming to dinner,” but what’s on the cultural and political menu when the African diaspora gathers to dine.
Friday, August 7 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“ALL THE GOOD IN THE WORLD” by Cory Hinkle
Directed by Cameron Watson
In Williston, North Dakota, a pastor opens his church to the many unemployed men who have come north looking for work during the fracking oil boom. But when he invites a convicted felon to live in his guest bedroom it threatens to destroy his family. A play about faith and how hard it is to know if you are doing the right thing.
Saturday, August 8 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“THE WIDE YAWNING INFINITY” by Cheri Magid
Directed by Emily Chase
When a dinner party amongst old friends suddenly self-destructs and seems to signal the end of those friendships, one woman sets out to discover why–and finds herself plunged into an alternate universe where household objects go missing and experts–who may not know anything at all–lead her on a journey that could either be a wild goose chase or the point of existential truth.
Saturday, August 8 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“EVEN FLOWERS BLOOM IN HELL, SOMETIMES” by Franky D. Gonzalez
Directed by Michael John Garcés
An exploration of one’s place in society, purpose, and love from the perspective of the incarcerated and their families.
Sunday, August 9 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“MARIANAS TRENCH” by Scott C. Sickles
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel
After the “red states” and “blue states” become separate nations, two lonely 11-year-old boys seek connection through a government-monitored pen pal correspondence across the new border. Part coming of age drama, part political thriller, Marianas Trench is a love story.
Sunday, August 9 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“TURBULENCE” a collection of short plays by William Mastrosimone
Directed by Christina Carlisi, Kari Hayter, Mary Lou Belli
Imagine sitting on a park bench watching the passers-by. Each character stops to speak with you. They unfold their hearts to you and move on. It’s not so much a play as it is an encounter with characters reeling from the turbulence in their lives.
WEEK THREE – AUGUST 13 TO 16
Thursday, August 13 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“CAM BABY” by Jessica Moss
Directed by Michelle Bossy
Touching on issues of privacy, consent, identity, lookism, and the value of women, Cam Baby is a fast-paced ensemble comedy about the selves we create and the stories we watch.
Friday, August 14 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“THE MACHINE” by Matthew Libby
Directed by Michael Michetti
An acclaimed-poet-turned-professor with a severe case of writer’s block has a crisis of conscience when she’s approached by a charismatic tech CEO with a strange offer.
Saturday, August 15 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“VISITING HOURS” by Jami Brandli
Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
A reclaiming of the Persephone myth, now set in a psychiatric hospital, Visiting Hours follows the arduous journey of Stephie Green, a middle-aged music teacher who must break free from her complicated past in order to be reunited with her family.
Saturday, August 15 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
“RINGXIETY” by Scooter Pietsch
Directed by Andre Barron
Now that technology allows us to communicate 24/7 with voice, text and video, could over-communication be just as bad as no communication?
Sunday, August 16 5:00PM ET, 2:00PM PT
“ATTACHMENT” by Jason Martin Karasev
Directed by Asaad Kelada
When a Father and Son trip into the woods reveals itself to be much more than a Birthday retreat, it soon becomes evident that things are not what they appear to be. Attachment is a provocative exploration of the ties that bind us, and what it means to be family.
Sunday, August 16 9:00PM ET, 6:00PM PT
FIVE ONE ACT PLAYS
“WARREN AND THE POLAR BEAR” by Jim Geoghan
Directed by Kate Huffman
Warren believes the Polar Bear at the Central Park Zoo is not happy and takes it upon himself to return it back to Alaska.
“WICKED CHILD” by Jonathan W. Stokes
Directed by Chuck McCollum
The fateful meeting of two hitmen, each assigned to kill the other. When they meet, sparks fly.
“DUSK AT NINE JOY STREET” by Ellen Davis Sullivan
Directed by Suzanne Hunt
Mattie and Herm blame their daughter Jenny’s drug death on her friend Curt, but when he shows up at their home each evening at dusk, the couple struggles to open themselves to a new way of dealing with their grief.
“INEVITABLE” by Bethany Dickens
Directed by Ruman Kazi
Inevitable maps out the twists and turns in a relationship as a statistician tries to figure out if a new relationship has even the slightest, statistically-significant chance of working out.
“GO!” by Brooks Berry-Armstrong
Transcribed and Directed by Stephen Tobolowsky
A short play about five actors and their stage manager at half hour preparing for a performance of a play titled “GO!” The fact that no one knows what “GO!” is about is only a minor problem.
Ticket prices are suggested donation of $15. No donation is too small, but if you can’t afford to donate at this time we understand.
Be entertained live (streamed) while supporting theater in NoHo!
THE ROAD THEATRE COMPANY:
Located in the heart of the NoHo Arts district-the fastest growing arts district in Los Angeles County-the company has called the Historic Lankershim Arts Center home for the past 26 seasons. Fiercely committed to that most dangerous of theater missions-the dedication to new works-The Road Theatre Company led by founding artistic director Taylor Gilbert and artistic director Sam Anderson, is a multi award-winning theater that has been named one of the top ten intimate theater companies in Los Angeles (LA Weekly). It is home to over 150 theater artists devoted to the creation of the highest level of work. The festival is also the primary fundraising event for the theater to help launch it’s 29th season. A suggested donation of $15 is requested of virtual festival attendees and they are invited to give as little or as much as they want during each streamed performance. This year’s festival is produced by special arrangement with SAG-AFTRA and supported by a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
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