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Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12)

We all need a little SPF12 right about now. The Road Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the 12th annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12) streaming live Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, August 1.  

Did you know? The Road Theatre Company’s Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12) is:

  • 26 plays in 12 days!
  • The largest playwright’s festival in the U.S. 
  • Featuring plays by Oscar®, Tony® and Pulitzer Prize Winner JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY (“Moonstruck,” “Doubt: A Parable”), KERMIT FRAZIER (“Kernel of Sanity,” (Ghostwriter”), 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award Winner NATHAN ALAN DAVIS and many more! 
  • Followed by a moderated discussion with the playwright, director and cast. 
  • Continuing online as theatres anticipate reopening this fall.
  • Streaming live on The Road Theatre’s website and YouTube channel

The 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 while theatres across the U.S. seek to reopen this fall. They are thrilled to announce in this, their upcoming 30th season, the Twelfth Annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12) returns to its online format making new plays more accessible than ever. In addition, more than 200 writers, directors, actors and technicians have volunteered their time to present 26 plays over the span of three  weekends. 

Executive Director Tracey Silver reveals, “After receiving hundreds of play submissions, we are excited to share with you our audience SPF 12! We will broadcast 26 plays, a wide range of different stories, over the course of three weeks.

Tracey adds, “And while we are so close and excited to get back into our theatre in North Hollywood, we are grateful this new virtual format has allowed us to reach a much wider audience across the country. With that in mind, please join us July 15 to August 1 to celebrate the new works of each of these playwrights. See you at the Festival!” 

Taylor Gilbert 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?”

Taylor continues, “From the up close and personal in our theatre, to going online and intimately into your virtual devices, we are excited to bring you our 12th Summer Playwrights Festival. So sit back, get comfortable  and enjoy the ride.” 

Artistic Director Sam Anderson, reflecting on the process: “Following the great success of the Road’s first virtual Summer Playwrights Festival last year, with an audience of over 18,000 viewers from six continents, The Road team realized SPF 12 planning needed to start early, and indeed it has. Led by Executive Festival Director Tracey Silver, the company and invited guests began reading potential plays in late 2020. The entire Road company served as readers, as well as volunteer guest readers, carefully combing through over 600 entries of new full length and one-act plays, and winnowing down the finalists.

“In addition to quality, the search included ever-increasing inclusion of BIPOC writers, parity for male and female playwrights and a determination to bring the best new and returning voices to this  celebration of creativity and connection to the entire country,” says Artistic Director Sam Anderson.

The Twelfth Annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12) STREAMING SCHEDULE: 


WEEK ONE – JULY 15 TO JULY 18

Thursday, July 15 6:00PM PT 

“ORIGIN STORY” by Nathan Alan Davis
Directed by Joanie Schultz 
A play about work, debt, race, friendship, drive-thru windows, and a very very big, very very  sudden, existential crisis. 

Friday, July 16 6:00PM PT 

“HERE IS WHERE” by Vasanti Saxena 
Directed by Jully Lee 
In the aftermath of 9/11, two sisters receive an unexpected package that brings them to the  intersection of their uncertain present and their grandmother’s past in wartime Nanjing. 

Saturday, July 17 2:00PM PT 

“STUCK WITH FRED” by Timothy Nolan 
Directed by Taylor Nichols 
Hilly wants a friend, needs a friend, but the best she can do is Fred… thirty years older,  irascible in the extreme, in poor health and a fellow recovering alcoholic. He’s not an easy  friend. But neither is she. When his health takes a turn for the worst and his brother shows up  to run interference, she finds out just how much of a friend he is. 

Saturday, July 17 6:00PM PT 

“MODERN MINSTRELSY” by Kermit Frazier 
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel 
On a hot August night in a predominantly white community on Long Island, NY, a Black man  shoots and kills a white teenager who with three friends has been chasing in their car that  man’s 20-year-old son. That shooting triggers not only charges and a trial but also the “re surfacing” of Nig and Jig, two timeless Black American and Irish American figures, who are  locked in a seemingly never-ending struggle for agency, place, and point of view in their country’s history and psyche. 

Sunday, July 18 2:00PM PT 

“M-THEORY: a play told in 11 dimensions” by Jami Brandli 
Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky 
The near future. Former biographer Pauline Grey has shut herself and her daughter Ava away in a remote cabin in Angeles National Forest for nearly a year. Pauline will not let Ava go  until she has the answers she is desperately seeking. But when a solar flare storm hits, cutting  the women off from communication with the outside world, and a downed pilot appears at the cabin asking for help, Pauline’s reality is challenged in more ways than one.

Sunday, July 18 6:00PM PT 

FIVE ONE ACT PLAYS: 

“THE PEACE OF HOME” by Mildred Inez Lewis 
Directed by Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx 
Quarantine forces two lovers to confront the cost of peace in their home. 

“HOW GRANDMA MET THE RAT PACK” by Greg Tulonen 
Directed by Bruce Katzman 
In a quiet bar, an aging flibbertigibbet recounts her (possibly apocryphal) celebrity encounters  with each member of the Rat Pack. Her stories are met with encouraging acceptance from her  granddaughter (who is also the bartender), and deep skepticism from her grandson, who has  come to believe that his grandmother is either confused or lying. 

“OUR LADY OF BROAD STREET” by Jane Denitz Smith 
Directed by Susan Vanita Diol 
It’s almost time for the grand old hotel’s gala reopening. But when an inexplicable stain  appears on a lobby wall, a young architect is forced to question her life-long assumptions  about what is–and what might be. 

“INTERVIEW WITH A CAT” by Jim Geoghan 
Directed by Stewart J. Zully 
Jim Geoghan’s cat Shadow has spent thousands of hours teaching him the ups and downs of  cat care and Jim has learned nothing. 

“50 LOVE LETTERS” by Mercilee Jenkins 
Directed by Emily Jerez 
What should an older woman do with 50 letters from her first love? She could burn them, bury  them, float them out to sea or take them on a trip and discover they’re true, after all these  years. 

WEEK TWO – JULY 22 TO JULY 25 

Thursday, July 22 6:00PM PT

“EARWORM” by Shualee Cook
Directed by Ken Sawyer 
Five people have five different reactions to a punk rock breakup song. Now the Song wants to know why. 

Friday, July 23 6:00PM PT 

“STOOP PIGEONS” by Christin Eve Cato 
Directed by Bruce A. Lemon Jr. 
Stoop Pigeons takes place in the early/mid-2000s when the Bushwick area of Brooklyn  experienced rapid gentrification. We witness what happens in the span of a decade: how the  culture of the neighborhood changes, how it affects the people who inhabit it, and how it  forgets about those who sacrificed for it. 

Saturday, July 24 2:00PM PT 

“THE BIG RED NAUGAHYDE BOOTH (OR, WOULD-BE ELKS)” by Jennie Webb
Directed by Laura Stribling 
A comedy about negotiations, acceptance and belonging, The Big Red Naugahyde Booth (or,  Would-be Elks) tracks the cocktails and confessions of a group of women who regularly meet  to drink and dish. But on this particular evening of excess, a girls’ night out becomes a surreal  exploration of female bonds in a changing world.

Saturday, July 24 6:00PM PT 

“REFUGEE RHAPSODY” by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Risa Brainin 
Sakinah, an Arab American woman, undergoes a mental health evaluation to determine what  led to the violent crime she committed against Emily, a rich heiress. The play explores race,  class, privilege, and how those factors collide and play out in today’s culture. 

Sunday, July 25 2:00PM PT 

“FAMILY TREE” by Erin K. Considine 
Directed by Lauren Patrice Nadler 
Isabella is losing herself to Alzheimer’s. Her communication comes in repetitive stops and  starts, leaving her children to untangle the roots of their past in order to make some weighted  decisions about their future. Is a fresh start possible when old growth has been gnarled and  broken away? 

Sunday, July 25 6:00PM PT 

“WAITING FOR GODÍNEZ” by Daniel A. Olivas 
Directed by Sara Guerrero 
Each night, immigration officials kidnap Jesús and throw him in a cage with the intent of  deporting him. But each time, Jesús escapes and makes it back to the city park to be with Isabel  to wait for the mysterious Godínez. Inspired by Beckett’s iconic Godot play but with humor  deeply steeped in Latinx culture, “Waiting for Godínez” explores the meaning—and  absurdities—of identity and belonging. 

WEEK THREE – JULY 29 TO AUGUST 1

Thursday, July 29 6:00PM PT 

“DAY OF SATURN” by Leviticus Jelks 
Directed by Melissa Coleman-Reed 
For Achilles Jones, the reality of his son, Icarus’, attempted suicide still haunts him a year  later as he works tirelessly to repair his run-down hardware store alongside a charismatic  young volunteer with a painful past of his own. Soon the secrets about Achilles’ son and the  truth about their relationship come to light in this planetary collision of loss, humor, Black  masculinity and the generational scars that follow us through life. 

Friday, July 30 6:00PM PT 

“BELOVED” by Arthur Holden 
Directed by Cameron Watson 
Dorothy and Stephen, married co-owners of a failing business, are shocked to discover that  their teenaged son has committed a disturbing crime – and they’re devastated when they learn  why. In three successive waiting rooms, accompanied by three young women, Dorothy and  Stephen must decide what truly matters as they struggle to chart a better future. 

Saturday, July 31 2:00PM PT 

“THE OUTSIDE WORLD” by Dayenne C. Walters 
Directed by Dan Martin 
The Outside World is an immersive multimedia play about a young mother’s fight to save her  family’s life, after her untimely death, and her eight-year-old son, whose emotions and feelings  manifest in a superpower kind of synesthesia (“The Noises,” as his family calls them)— cacophonous sounds and music that his father is trying to help him suppress. 

Saturday, July 31 6:00PM PT 

“THE SWEATER CURSE” Book, Music & Lyrics by Scooter Pietsch
Directed by Adam John Hunter 
Warning! Knitting is bad for your relationship! Find out why when Charlotte knits her  boyfriend an intricate Norwegian sweater. Is their love strong enough to survive a gift of such  power, weight, and accountability? 

Sunday, August 1 2:00PM PT 

“BURST” by Rachel Bublitz 
Directed by Christina Carlisi 
Sarah Boyd is going to save the earth from our self inflicted plastic disaster. The only thing  standing in her way is the truth. 

Sunday, August 1 6:00PM PT 

FIVE ONE ACT PLAYS: 

“CENSUS” by Susan Miller 
Directed by Abigail Deser 
When Jacob, a newly assigned census taker, makes a home visit to Gloria and attempts to get  clear answers to the standard questions on the government form he’s been issued, Jacob  discovers that the objective facts he’s seeking are not always so, as Gloria peels back the layers  and confronts him with a different reality. That she is Black and he is white complicates their  encounter in unexpected and mysterious ways. 

“MEDUSA DOES A RE-DO” by Angela J. Davis 
Directed by Inger Tudor 
After three thousand years as the reviled monster with snakes on her head, Medusa persuades Athena that it’s time for a re-evaluation. A play in verse for a new universe. 

“THE SECRET KEEPER” by David Meyers
Directed by Oran Zegman 
Creative Consultant, Fazeelat Aslam 
Ahmad is the groundskeeper at a cemetery in Afghanistan. When a local mother visits the  cemetery, she befriends Ahmad and unearths a troubling secret that unites them both. 

“THE RESTAURANT” PLAY by Scott Gibson 
Directed by Darryl Johnson 
An innocent question posed at the start of a family dinner leads to a variety of unexpected conversations, confessions and one or two life-changing decisions. Also, there are brussels  sprouts. 

“AFTER THE DELUGE” by John Patrick Shanley 
Directed by Tracey Silver 
The story of two New York women arguing and grieving and recovering from the pandemic.  Their clash raises sparks, conjures magic and comedy, and perhaps suggests a way forward in  these fraught times. 

The Twelfth Annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF12) PRICING: 

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. 

CLOSED CAPTIONING:

Closed captioning will be provided for both the readings and talkbacks. 

STREAMING PLATFORMS: 

www.roadtheatre.org | www.youtube.com/roadtheatrecompany

THE ROAD THEATRE COMPANY: 

Located in the heart of the North Hollywood Arts District, L.A. County’s fastest  growing arts community, The Road is an ensemble of 150+ theatre artists fiercely  committed to the creation and development of new plays. To further that mission, The  Road has launched Under Construction, a diverse collaborative group of new and  established playwrights dedicated to socially and politically relevant storytelling for the  American stage. Celebrating 30 years of groundbreaking work and led by Founding  Artistic Director Taylor Gilbert along with Artistic Director Sam Anderson, The Road  is a multi award-winning theatre named as one of the top ten intimate theatre  companies in Los Angeles (LA Weekly). Visit www.roadtheatre.org for more info. 

Support for this program was provided through the City of Los Angeles Department of  Cultural Affairs, Arts Development Fee Program, LA County Arts Internship Program  and the Office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian.

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