The conference, featuring public readings of new plays as well as various symposia, runs through Aug. 12 in Ojai, CA.
Mary Catherine Garrison (Assassins) and John Vickery (The Lion King) are joined by a number of television stars in the ensembles of the new works to be read. Other actors include John Cabrera ("The Gilmore Girls"), Ravi Kapoor ("Crossing Jordan"), Kim Miyori ("St. Elsewhere"), Ramon de Ocampo ("Medium," "The West Wing"), Samantha Quan ("Three Moons Over Milford"), Greg Watanabe ("Watch Over Me"), Liza Weil ("The Gilmore Girls") and Bess Wohl ("Shark"). Patrick Adams, Blythe Auffarth and Linda Gehringer will also appear.
This year's directors include Michael Garces, Lisa Petersen, Diane Rodriguez, Kent Nicholson, OPC artistic director Robert Egan and Keith Bunin. Dramaturgs include Chris Breyer, Egan, Cho, Garces and Bunin.
The schedule of 2007 events follows:
A performance of one-acts, scenes, monologues and poems from playwrights Julia Cho (Durango), Steve Connell (The Word Begins) and T.D. Mitchell (Beyond the 17th Parallel) exploring "the ups and downs of loving relationships in our contemporary age. Divorce, rampant materialism, skewed morality, creeping narcissism, gender and genes are all part of the dramatic canvas that these provocative writers weave as they take us on a journey through the problems that lovers and love confront in today's world." Followed by a discussion with the writers.
Conference co-founder Rick Cleveland ("Six Feet Under," "The West Wing," My Buddy Bill) will perform "his completed one-man show on his relationship with President George W. Bush." A discussion with the writer will follow.
The writer-performer presents her new solo play that explores "the difficulties faced by young people as they struggle to find themselves and their place in this demanding media-driven world."
"It's something like the 1950s. Donald Peterson's perfect lawn is groomed to win a blue ribbon at the neighborhood parade. But in the night, it turns brown. He goes to war against his strange and foreign neighbor whose anti-American lawn is all dandelion and clover. He tries to control his baton-twirling daughter who is much too interested in her fiance's elephant tusk. And he tries to make his restless wife stand by his side like a good patriot."
"Texas. Heartland, U.S.A. A cult using costumes bought at the local World War II memorabilia store commits a mysterious, brutal hate crime. The proprietor of the store re-examines his life. He looks at his potential complicity in the violence that surrounds him. Meanwhile, a re-enactment of a Nazi prison march is taking place nearby. As protests mount and dissenters converge, the lines between fact and fiction threaten to become savagely blurred."
"Judith and Bruce are the perfect couple in a coastal community where avarice and environmentalism coexist. He's a brilliant venture capitalist and avid surfer. She's the woman behind the scenes making it all possible for him. If only Judith did the same for her husband. Unfortunately, Bruce isn't her life mate. He's her longtime boss."
"Min Suk Chun is a weird guy. He's turning 60, and he's back in West Texas. He left his family in America more than 15 years ago. Now he's returned. His family prepares to throw him a halfhearted and wholly American hwangap (a 60th birthday ritual designed to signify the completion of the Eastern zodiac). An aging Korean would-be cowboy is back at the head of the table. Before the end of the night, he'll probably end up sitting in a tree without his pants on."
Aug. 12 at 4 PM: Equivocation by Bill Cain; directed by Nicholson; featuring Patrick Adams, Bess Wohl and Ravi Kapoor.
"What if the government commissioned you to write the definitive history of a national tragedy? What if you discovered the government's version of the story was a self serving lie? What story would you tell? Would you equivocate? Welcome to the world of William Shakespeare, the Globe Theatre, the palaces of London, the dungeons of the Tower — as Shakespeare and Company struggle to create a true history of their times and not lose their hearts, souls, or heads in the process." Founded in 1996, the OPC is set in the Ojai countryside, a retreat-like environment away from nearby Los Angeles that provides a place where scribes work in-house on their developing plays. The intensive workshop ends with the public readings.
The Ojai Playwrights Conference takes place at the Zalk Theatre, 8585 Ojai Santa Paula Road in Ojai, CA. For tickets and more information call (805) 640-0400 or visit ojaiplays.org.