In the United States, playwrights are used to facing one great danger -- the lack of box office success. But in many other parts of the world, writing a protest play and staging it can result in prison and even death.
The Magic Theatre of San Francisco will celebrate the trials and pain playwrights around the world have suffered in their Playwrights in Danger festival, running April 21-30.
Among the playwrights represented are Asian-American playwright Chay Yew, who was banned in Singapore; Algerian Abdelkader Alloua, assassinated in 1994; Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka; and Nigerian Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed by his own government in 1995.
The full festival schedule follows:
• April 21: Yew's A Language of Their Own, directed by Mary Coleman
• April 22: Eduardo Pavlosvsky's Postestad (Impunity), directed by Roberto Varea, and Soyinka's The Swamp Dwellers
• April 24: Nawal el Sadaawi's Twelve Women in a Cell, directed by Torange Yeghiazarian
• April 29: Alloula's Lajwaad and Saro-Wiwa's Transistor Radio and Bride By Return
• April 30: Goran Simic's Wind in Uniform and Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden's The Little Gray Home in the West Each reading will be followed by a panel discussion or talk back. Among the topics are "Theatre and Censorship in Singapore," "Nawal el Sadaawi and Women in the Arab World," "The Life and Death of Ken Saro-Wiwa" and "Anglo-Irish History and Social Conflict."
April 28, a special Playwrights in Danger Slam, directed by Laura Hope Owen and Virginia Reed, will highlight the lives of some of the festival's playwrights with readings of poetry, dramatic scenes from their work and prison correspondence by Bay Area actors.
Tickets are a $10 suggested donation. The Magic Theatre is located in Building D at the Fort Mason Center. For reservations, call (415) 441 8822.
-- By Christine Ehren