Ojai Playwrights Conference with New Guirgis, Cho, Bunin, Alfaro Works Begins Aug. 7 | Playbill

News Ojai Playwrights Conference with New Guirgis, Cho, Bunin, Alfaro Works Begins Aug. 7
The seventh annual Ojai Playwrights Conference featuring new works by Julia Cho, Keith Bunin, Luis Alfaro and Rogelio Martinez begins Aug. 7.
Stephen Adly Guirgis
Stephen Adly Guirgis

OPC artistic director Robert Egan spearheads the event including symposia and readings at the southern California locale through Aug. 14. The designated Playwright In Residence of the 2005 Conference is Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings).

Appearing in this year's ensemble of actors will be William Russ ("Wiseguy"), Liza Weil ("Gilmore Girls"), Zach Quinto ("24"), Will McCormack ("Must Love Dogs"), Luis Alfaro, Sekou Tha Misfit, Steven Connell, Hamish Linklater ("Fantastic Four"), Michael Weston, Winston Roca, Justin Huen, Jim Lashly, Bess Wohl, Dwier Brown, Patrick Adams, Nelson Mashita, Trieu Tran, John Apicella, Erik Sorensen and Jin Suh. Norman Lear is underwriting the event on August 12 and will appear in person.

The 2005 Ojai lineup includes:

  • Aug. 9 at 7:30 PM: "Hip Hop, Poetry, Spoken Word, Slammin' and Hammin': New Forms in the Theatre."
    Symposium with Luis Alfaro, Steve Connell, Sekou tha Misfit Culture Clash and special guests from the world of avant-garde performance discussing new forms and influences emerging in the today's American theatre.


  • Aug. 11 at 7:30 PM: "Values vs. Spirit in the American Theatre."
    Bill Cain, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Keith Bunin and Father Greg Boyle S.J. (Founder of the renowned Homeboy Industries) discuss the status of today’s culture as far as values, spirituality and religion in this symposium with performances of selected works from the playwrights.
  • Aug. 12 at 8 PM: The Norman Lear/Ojai Night: A Celebration of Poetically Political Voices.
    • Word Made Flesh by Steve Connell and Sekou tha Misfit. An evening of poetry, hip-hop, rap, drama, movement, mirth and music fused into a show performed and created by two young spoken-word artists.
    • The Bus - part of an upcoming work by Luis Alfaro. The scribe will takes audiences on "a funny, poignant and always engaging bus trip through the City of Angels and into the heart of what it means to be a sun-drenched, Left Coast, pot melting 'Southern Californian.'" Lear will make an appearance.
  • Aug. 13 at 1 PM: Youth Writers/ Performance Lab
    Young artists perform the scripts they developed. Directed by Kim Maxwell Brown and Luis Alfaro.
  • Aug. 13 at 5 PM: My First Radical by Rogelio Martinez (Learning Curve).
    An 18-year-old Cuban immigrant on his way to becoming a U.S. Citizen takes "a wild and unpredictable journey to discover what happened to American idealism" along with his sex-crazed American girlfriend and his ideas about freedom in this 1981-set work.
  • Aug. 13 at 8 PM: The Busy World Is Hushed by Keith Bunin (The Credeaux Canvas).
    A minister and religious scholar uses her faith to accept and transcend life’s inevitable sorrows, but can offer nothing to her estranged, wayward, and beloved son until an inquisitive young writer comes to help work on her latest book. The work will also be seen in the upcoming Playwrights Horizons season in the spring.
  • Aug. 14 at 1 PM: Durango by Julia Cho (BFE).
    A widowed, suddenly single father embarks on one more family road trip with his two sons but the journey proves more than they bargained for as each male struggles to establish himself as a father, a son, and most of all, a man. The work will also be seen at the 2005 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's Playwrights Conference.
  • Aug. 14 at 4 PM: The Laying On of Hands by Bill Cain (Stand-Up Tragedy).
    As a new priest prepares to celebrate his first Mass, he forces himself to look for God on the edges of his painful past and doubt about what brought him to this point. Set in the Ojai countryside, the conference provides a retreat-like environment away from nearby Los Angeles where the scribes work in-house on their developing plays. The intensive workshop ends with the public readings.

    Past conference participants — playwrights and performers — include Arthur Kopit, David Ives, Stephen Belber, Christopher Durang, Keith Bunin, David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Julia Jordan, Dana Delany, Victor Garber, Ron Rifkin, Judith Light, Michael Gross, Sandra Oh, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman and David Hyde Pierce.

    The Ojai Playwrights Conference will take place at the Zalk Theatre, 8585 Ojai Santa Paula Road in Ojai, CA. For tickets and more information, call (805) 640-0400 or visit www.ojaiplaywrightsconf.org.

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