Running through Aug. 14, the Ojai conference provides an environment where playwrights can develop and ultimately present their work to audiences in a series of public presentations. The Summer New Works Festival presentations take place Aug. 9-14. Robert Egan serves as artistic director.
Here's a look at the 2011 Ojai presentations:
Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle (Aug. 9 at 7:30 PM). "A series of dramatic, breathtaking parables distilled from a pastor’s twenty years working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles. Father Greg Boyle created Homeboy Industries to provide jobs, job training and encouragement so that young people could learn mutual respect. Filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, this evening offers a stirring look at the power of loving joyfully and unconditionally. Meet tattooed, giant Cesar and little 10-year-old Lula both learning the importance of being known and acknowledged and feeling worthy through love."
Black Sun by Match and Tape playwright Belber and Duritz (Aug. 11 at 7:30 PM). "Eight New Yorkers - some new, some old, some just returning after having given up - confront perplexing questions and surprising answers in the wake of a world where the sun has disappeared. At first the Black Sun lasts only 23 seconds, creating havoc and moments of solace. But this upside down world eventually becomes permanent. Everything turns into something totally strange and revelatory."
The Zimbabwe Project by Shakespeare in the Park's Measure for Measure actress Gurira (Aug. 12 at 7 PM). "Gurira develops the final compelling, contemporary chapter of her Zimbabwe Trilogy. The new play explores the complex and captivating history of that African nation from 1895 to the present day - from a woman's perspective. For this workshop Danai will collaborate with OPC artistic director Robert Egan. The trilogy's opening play, The Convert, is scheduled for productions at the McCarter, Goodman and Kirk Douglas Theatres in the spring of 2012." Red Flamboyant by Don Nguyen (Aug. 12 at 9 PM). "Mrs. Hue lives in present day Viet Nam with a small group of women who all suffer from a mysterious health condition. It affects their minds, their emotions and their dreams. When bricks smash the windows of her small house, the locals fear they will be infected by this mystery condition. Mrs. Hue is forced to seek help from a stubborn government official to protect and support her group. Unlikely heroes emerge both in this world and the next as these poor women reach new heights of courage."
Fallow by Ken Lin (Aug. 13 at 4 PM). "This deeply moving drama tells the story of Aaron Hayes, a well-heeled young American man who drops out of his Ivy-League education when matters of the heart become too overwhelming. He takes a job as a beekeeper, which turns into a journey through the heartland of America as a migrant farm worker. His epic journey ends in the fields of California where he is mistaken as a Mexican laborer. Tracing a path of discovery, longing, hope, and grief, the play reveals both Aaron's transformation as he travels from farm to farm and that of his mother as she journeys in a gypsy cab to find her son."
30.3. thirty, three. a play for three actors in their 30's by award-winning Equivocation playwright Cain (Aug. 13 at 8 PM). "To become a great actor, you need a great role. Only 30-years-old, Colin feels his time for greatness running out. He finally gets his shot at starring in a major movie. It’s a role that has ended the career of every actor who has tried it – the 33-year-old carpenter from Galilee. Colin can salvage his career if he can discover – before shooting starts – a trick no other actor has ever brought to the part - the secret of rising from the dead. The mysterious Magdalene and the carpenter himself join Colin on an amazing journey to break the bonds of death, learn how to play God and maybe win an Oscar."
When We Were Young and Unafraid by Sarah Treem (Aug. 14 at 1 PM). "1971 - a bed and breakfast off the coast of Seattle. A mother raises her brilliant daughter with values of independence and self-respect while also providing shelter to battered women. Mother’s attention has recently been absorbed by a mysterious woman visitor who’s on the run from an abusive relationship - passing through this establishment on her way to freedom. Charming, but deeply self-destructive, the visitor begins to influence the daughter. Mom is forced to confront all the assumptions she's made about what it means to be a victim. The play explores the true cost of desire and dependence."
Rick and Dick by Rick Cleveland (Aug. 14 at 4 PM). "This wildly humorous play chronicles the author's childhood friendship and fixation with one of America’s most notorious commanders-in-chief, Richard M. Nixon. From his first letter written as a 7th grade class assignment to the President in November of 1972 through the darkest days of Watergate, this surprising collection of revealing letters between a young mid-western boy and the 37th President of the United States tells the story of an unlikely friendship during the funky and turbulent 1970s."
For tickets, phone (805) 640-0400 or visit OjaiPlays.