2015 Bay Area Playwrights Festival

What are you doing in mid-July?  What about joining me and spending part or all of one or two weekends in San Francisco seeing readings of seven new plays at the 38th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival?

BAPF header2

For almost forty years, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival has served as a forum and a showcase for playwrights to experiment with new ideas, develop and nurture creative collaborative relationships, and push the boundaries of the form. This year’s exciting lineup continues that tradition, developing work spanning topics as wide-ranging and relevant as the history of hip hop and the exploration of black identity, nuclear physics and the role of women in tech, climate change, literacy, and the power of the Internet.

I had a fun telephone conversation about the Festival with Amy Meuller, long time Artistic Director of Playwrights Foundation.  Her enthusiasm was contagious.  She told me that while every year their rigorous selection process aims to include an emerging writer, one thing that makes this year’s Festival special is that three  of the seven playwrights are young graduate students (or recent grads) with fresh, significant voices.  She said their plays “tap in to the very prevalent social conscious of the now — in a purely theatrical way.”  She also told me that one of the more mature of the readings — Lauren Gunderson’s “The Revolutionists” — is scheduled for a world premiere production at Cincinnati Playhouse in 2016 and they are partnering in this final developmental reading.

Here is the lineup of plays and playwrights for the 38th Annual BAPF:

Kara Lee Corthron

Kara Lee Corthron

 

Welcome to Fear City by Kara Lee Corthon, directed by Gamal Chasten

A throw-back to the South Bronx in the ‘70s, as the roots of hip hop and a new black revolution ignite a community and a nation.

 

Tearrance Chisholm

Tearrance Chisholm

Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies by Tearrance Chisholm, directed by Jessa Brie Morena

Rhythm, repetition and erudition reveal the commonalities between two wildly different black youths. Nietzsche and 2pac may not be all that far apart, after all.

Christine Evans

Christine Evans

 

Galilee by Christine Evans, directed by Rebecca Novick

In a tiny coastal town along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, competing economic and environmental forces threaten global catastrophe.

 

Lauren Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson

The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Eleanor Holdridge

A comedic feminist quartet about four very real women who lived boldly during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.

Sam Lahne

Sam Lahne

 

#julys by Samuel Lahne, directed by Brian Katz

A suspenseful farce complete with hacktivists and bumbling FBI agents, in which a troubled teen loses control of his on and offline identities.

 

Brendan Pelsue

Brendan Pelsue

 

Brendan Pelsue: Read to Me by Brendan Pelsue, directed by Christine Young

A child living with cancer… and maybe dying… is mentored by Elmo the Shaman and the oldest woman in Alaska.

Geetha Reddy

Geetha Reddy

 

On A Wonderverse by Geetha Reddy – A project of PF’s Producing Partnership Initiative with Crowded Fire Theater, directed by Jessica Heidt

A brilliant young physicist succeeds in creating a new universe from ‘Nothing’ within a particle collider after she is overlooked for the Nobel Prize. Will it provide insight into the origins of our universe, or will it destroy her?

Scheduled over two weekends in mid-July (July 17-19, 24-26), this year the festival is moving to a new venue at the Tides Theatre near Union Square in San Francisco.  Tickets are on sale now (with an Early Bird Discount before July 1)  .  You can see all 7 plays from Friday night through Sunday or three plays on either Saturday or Sunday or any combination.  Check out the complete schedule and details on their website.

The Bay Area Playwrights Festival has helped start or advance the careers of hundreds of  playwrights (including Sam Shepard, Nilo Cruz, Bill Irwin, David Henry Hwang, Anna Deavere Smith, Marcus Gardley, Annie Baker, Katori Hall and many others) who are today some of the most prominent names in contemporary theatre.  From this year’s Festival list of playwrights, you can already add Lauren Gunderson to that list and Amy and her team wouldn’t be surprised to see the others not far behind.  See theatrical history in its early stages as some of these unique voices are still emerging.

See you in San Francisco!

Share on Facebook

1 Comment

  1. Amy Mueller
    Jun 4, 2015

    Thank you Susan! Really fab article.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *