2017 marks the 20th anniversary of South Coast Repertory’s Pacific Playwrights Festival, which this year will consist of three full productions as well as four staged readings April 21–23. The pieces being produced this year include works from returning playwrights Amy Freed and Donald Margulies, as well as new playwrights including Lucas Hnath, and Lauren Yee.
Out of the seven pieces being explored this year, three of them come directly out of South Coast Rep’s commissioning program, which gave birth to Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone. Artistic Director Marc Masterson said in a statement, “South Coast Repertory continues to lead in the commissioning and development of new plays. The Pacific Playwrights Festival is our primary showcase for works that we have commissioned and for works we have been developing.”
South Coast Rep started the festival in 1998 and it has since grown to become one of the foremost festivals showcasing new plays in the U.S. Over the past 20 years the festival introduced more than 100 new works to not only Southern California audiences, but to audiences across the nation. Amy Freed’s The Beard of Avon and Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked! An Entertainment both came out of the program in recent years.
This year’s three full productions are: The Siegel, by Michael Mitnick, centers on a marriage proposal to an ex-girlfriend—in a serious, two-year relationship. Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 (which opens on Broadway starring Laurie Metcalf April 27) continues the story of Nora as she returns to the home she left 15 years before; and Yoga Play by Dipika Guh, a comedic search for authenticity in a world that treats inner peace and enlightenment as a commodity.
Along with the full productions, the Pacific Playwrights Festival will also be hosting four readings of works in progress. SHREW! by Freed sees the playwright putting her own take on the story of Petruchio and Kate. Anacostia Street Lions, by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm pits the “undesirables” against the M.A.N. in Washington, D.C., 2049. Long Lost by Margulies tells the story of a somewhat perfect family and its potential derailment as a long-lost brother returns. And Cambodian Rock Band by Yee is the story of a Cambodian refugee returning after 30 years in search of his daughter he left behind.
South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Messa, California. For more information, visit scr.org.