The newly formed Padua Playwrights Productions, of Los Angeles, will kick off its inaugural season at 2100 Square Feet with three successive plays by Murray Mednick. The world premiere of Mednick's 16 Routines, a "rhapsodic comedy," will take place April 6-May 5, directed by Wesley Walker; next will come the West Coast premiere of Joe and Berry, May 25-June 23, with Diane Robinson directing. Another world premiere (July 6-Aug. 4) will bring the all-Mednick season to a close: Mrs. Feurerstein, with Roxanne Rogers directing.
PPP is continuing the legacy of the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival, a major presence on the southern California theatre scene from 1978-1995. Founded by Mednick, Padua produced the early work of such playwrights as John Steppling, Sam Shepard, Maria Irene Fornes, David Henry Hwang, Jon Robin Baitz, Kelly Stuart, Leon Martell and others. During its 18 years of its existence, Padua Hills moved from site to site, always outdoors and always in the spirit of its original location—an old estate in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains from which the festival took its name.
"In the tradition of Padua Hills, PPP will present work by Padua students and alumni in tandem with readings and workshops," said Mednick. "We want to reconstitute Padua as a play-producing and teaching organization. There will be an interdisciplinary approach, with workshops and classes for writers, directors and actors. We'd like to retain the flavor of Padua as much as possible."
Mednick and PPP's artistic director Guy Zimmerman hope to produce four plays in 2002 at more regular intervals. Meanwhile, Mednick's three plays will go up in rapid succession, with an eye toward unity of theme and design. The plays are connected by recurring motifs such as the shifting nature of memory as well as by what Mednick calls "a certain self-conscious Judaism on a poetic level." The plays will share a design team, design concept, and composers. Intentions are to cast across all three plays as much as possible.
2100 Square Feet is located at 5615 San Vicente Blvd. For tickets and information call (323) 692-2652. — By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent