In a town where the screenplay's the thing, four MFA candidates in the USC playwriting program are taking their original plays on the road for a full production.
The Playwrights Initiative, a student playwriting organization, is holding the first-ever New Works Festival in April at the 24th St. Theatre in N. University Park.
The schedule includes four full productions of new works and a writing workshop with students of Manual Arts high school which will culminate in a bill of 10-minute plays being performed as well.
April 1-4 will see Jeff Rohrick's Ten Men, a tragicomedy about seven estranged friends who must decide whether to meet again in their old neighborhood. Steve Bolia's The Imperfect Daughter, a drama about three Vietnamese sisters, will play April 8-11. The Baka by Maurice Brown tracks a disillusioned police detective in the backwaters of 1940 New Orleans who turns to a voodoo priestess to help solve a series of killings. April 15-18. Barry Levine's N.Y.H.C. explores the lives of family members caught up in the New York hardcore punk scene. April 22-25.
These student playwrights are taking the MFA in Playwriting one professional step beyond the sanctity of a campus production. The casting notice for the plays drew more than 1,000 head shots and resumes from Los Angeles actors.Alfonso Freeman, son of Oscar-winning star Morgan Freeman, landed a lead role in The Baka.
For schedule and ticket information, call (323) 655-8587. The 24th St. Theatre is at 1117 W. 24th St.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent