UCSD Playwrights Find Voice in Baldwin New Play Festival in La Jolla, CA

News   UCSD Playwrights Find Voice in Baldwin New Play Festival in La Jolla, CA A trio of full-length plays and two one-acts written by University of California San Diego MFA playwriting students will be produced across the La Jolla campus in the Baldwin New Play Festival April 14-24.

The UCSD theatre and dance department presents the festival. The 2010 plays "take us from Rwanda to Santa Cruz, from the haunted mind of a teenage killer to the mysterious fragments of memory that a mother grieving her lost son tries to piece together," according to production notes. "The plays take on themes ranging from the legacy of slavery for one African-American family to what it means to be an American trying to do a good in a third world nation. They explore the complexity of finding justice in an imperfect world and the redemptive powers of making art."

MFA actors, directors, designers and stage managers are involved in the productions. The plays were developed in readings in September 2009 and weeklong workshops in December.

This year's fully-produced plays in the Baldwin New Play Festival are:

  • Oyster by Ronald McCants (MFA 2010), directed by Larissa Lury. "A Black-American man reconnects with the biological son he abandoned many years ago. As the two get to know each other, secrets from the past emerge that threaten to change everything. Can we ever know the truth of our own history? How can ghosts from our past destroy us? And how do we free ourselves from the demons that haunt us? An exploration of the Black-American experience through the prism of one father and son relationship."

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    April 16-24 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre Forum.

  • Everything Nice by Stephanie Timm (MFA 2010), directed by Jeffrey Wienckowski. "A woman returns to her 20 year high school reunion where she confronts old ghosts she's been running from for years. Are the people you know best really who they seem? Can you really trust what you remember? A psychological thriller that explores the dark side of adolescence and how getting away with something can be worse that getting caught." April 14-22 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

  • Phantom Band by Krista Knight (MFA 2011), directed by Tom Dugdale. "A group of teenage misfits in Santa Cruz struggle with hormones, unrequited crushes, crappy parents, college essays, and the meaning of life. One of their own decides to start a marching band and the teens come together to make strange and volatile music. When a mysterious exchange student joins the band, all hell breaks loose. A dark, comedic, and music-filled exploration of what it means to make art out of the chaos of your life and what it feels like to come of age in the first decade of a new century." April 15-24 in the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre.

  • In A Word by Lauren Yee (MFA 2012), directed by Adam Arian. "Two years have passed since Fiona's eight-year-old son mysteriously vanished. As Fiona goes back over the events she remembers leading up to that fateful day, logic buckles and language breaks. Will she uncover the truth and what happens if she does? A lyrical, absurdist journey on how to get over, get around, get through what haunts you."
  • Muzungu by David Myers (MFA 2012), directed by Anthony Luciano. "A well-intentioned American travels to contemporary Rwanda to distribute aid. But he has brought his considerable baggage with him, and a suitcase in Rwanda can hold things both horrifying and beautiful. Muzungu explores the unseen motives in doing good, and the gifts one receives when lending a helping hand." In A Word and Muzungu will be presented together at the Arthur Wagner Theatre April 16-24.

    On April 24, a staged reading of Obamanation by Lou-Lou Igbokwe, the winning play in the fourth annual Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting Competition on the African-American Experience, will be performed at 10:30 AM in the Arthur Wagner Theatre. The competition was open to all enrolled undergraduate students throughout the country. Igbokwe is currently a senior at Dartmouth College.

    La Jolla Playhouse's associate producer Shirley Fishman and literary manager Gabriel Greene serve as dramaturgs for all five productions.

    Theatre professionals, including artistic directors, attend the second weekend of the festival. Playwrights, literary managers and agents will attend each show and participate in small seminars and panel discussions open to the public.

    New plays showcased at BNPF in recent years have gone on to productions and readings in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Louisville, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, DC, and the O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

    Ticket prices range from $5-$20. For more information on the Baldwin New Play Festival at the University of California San Diego, visit theatre.ucsd.edu/season/newplayfest/boxoffice.html.

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