San Francisco, one of the hidden treasure chests of American theatre and emerging theatre artists, will show off its theatrical wealth in Bay Area Playwrights Festival 19, the 19th annual festival of new play readings, featuring the best of local up and coming playwrights.
Presented by the Playwright's Foundation, this years world premieres will be read at the San Francisco's Magic Theatre from Sept. 11-22, and includes features of new plays by Robert Alexander, Holly Hughes, Melanie Marnich, Brigdhe Mullins, Carlos Murillo and Madeline Olnek.
The festival opens with Mullins' Topographical Eden, a coming of age play in Las Vegas, directed by Jayne Wenger (9/11, 9/22). The play will receive it's world premiere at the Magic Theatre in March, 1997. Mullins plays have been produced off-Broadway, at Yale, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, and recently her play Fire Eater was given a staged reading at Lincoln Center.
Following is Carlos Murillo's Schadenfreude, a revisionist biography of Friedrich Nietzsche with 20th century conveniences (9/12, 9/18). Murillo was a member of the New York Shakespeare/Public Theatre emerging writers program, where his play Near Death Experiences with Leni Reifenstahl was developed, and recently produced in Minnesota.
How to Write While You Sleep is Madeline Olnek's play about a TV guru who helps an aspiring writer to access her creative powers while sleeping (9/13, 9/22). Olnek's plays have been produced all over New York, with titles such as Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, The Jewish Nun and Disaster Area Nurse. In Robert Alexander's A Preface to the Alien Garden, gang members in a crack house fight for their version of the American Dream (9/14, 9/20). One of Alexander's 19 plays, I Ain't Yo' Uncle, The New Jack Revisionist Uncle Tom's Cabin was recently produced at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.
Holly Hughes first person narrative Snatches of Saginaw, tells the story of growing up gay in Michigan (9/14, 9/19). Hughes is best known for being one of the 'NEA four,' a group of artists who were turned down for NEA grants. Her plays have been produced around the world, and a collection of her plays and essays, Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler was published this year by Grove Atlantic Press.
Beautiful Again by Melanie Marnich, follows a working class family caught between their desire to make promises and their ability to keep them (9/15, 9/21). Marnich has written several plays, in addition to a film, Joey and Rhonda which was produced and appeared in several film festivals.
The festival is supervised by Artistic Director Jayne Wenger, currently serving as Artistic Director of the Magic's Lab Season. Festival Producing Director Kent Nicholson, also serves at the Magic as literary manager.
The Bay Area Theatre Festival is one of three new play development venues in the American west, and has had a tremendous impact on American theatre. 11 plays in the past few festivals have received full productions by major theatres. Many playwrights from the festivals have won Tony and Obie and Awards, including Sam Shepard, Maria Irene Fornes, Anna Deveare Smith, Mac Wellman, and David Henry Hwang.
There is a $9 suggested donation at the door. For reservations and time schedules, call (415) 263-3986.
-- By Blair Glaser