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Theatre Bay Area ATLAS Playwrights Showcase: A New and Not-So-New Crop to Keep an Eye On - Day Two

TheatreWorks New Works Festival

Day Two was presented at a time that is foreign to most theatre people, the morning of August 11, 2013 at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. Nine playwrights were showcased.

Aimee Suzara - is a published poet as well as playwright. She presented a commissioned work in progress, A History of the Body, which was a discussion of the benefits and pitfalls of physical alterations.

Ignacio Zulueta - I performed with Iggy last year in Brecht/Weill's Happy End. I, also, participated in a program, Repro Rights, that included one of his short plays, Snip Snip, about a vasectomy. In his interview he opined that the thrill he gets from writing is seeing the different ways in which that writing can be interpreted and presented. He shared a scene from Cano & Abe, a discussion between old friends about why one would risk going AWOL before closing out a third tour of duty in Iraq.

Garret Groenveld - another poet and prolific playwright. He presented a selection from his two-character play, The Hummingbirds, a winner of the Internationalists Global Playwriting Prize with has been performed in six countries and four languages.

JC Samuels - is a screenwriter & producer, as well as an award-winning playwright. She shares her love of writing with other like-minded souls by producing film and theatre festivals. She presented a scene from Ashtad and Dardanos, which has had local and national readings.

Patricia Milton - has maintained local roots with her playwriting but has managed to spread their influence nationwide via publication and presentation. She also maintains a presence in several playwriting organizations. She presented a startling selection from Moments of Truth.

Min Kahng - a prodigious actor/musician/director in the East Bay, discovered writing and composing through his work with Bay Area Children's Theatre. He presented music and scenes from his musical adaptation, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. His musical, The Song of the Nightingale, will soon have its premiere at Altarena Playhouse.

Anne Dimock - an author and librettist from Minnesota and Hawaii has opted to use the moderate climes of the Bay Area to influence her work, which includes creating strong roles for women. She gave us a modern take on the Cyrano story by giving Roxanne the enlarged protuberance at the other end of the anatomy in She gave us new ways to refer to big-bottomed women.

Susan Sobeloff - is another contributor to the Olympians Festival and several other Bay Area festivals. She read from her historical play, The Suffrage Play, which will have a staged reading August 22-23 at Custom Made Theatre in San Francisco.

Elizabeth Gjelten - was our final poet of the two-day event and admitted to coming into writing relatively late in life, at the ripe old age of 36. She brought a delightful reading of her play, The Pastor's Wife, with the title character appearing in the last place you would expect, a prison.

In Hollywood, sequels and retreads seem to be the norm, as if all the creative pools for our entertainment have dried out. Here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, by the sampling of these 19 artists, there is, indeed, a great body yet to be fished in. As a musician as well as an actor, I have marveled how composers continue to mine new musical phrases from a finite palette of notes.

The Bay Area has shown itself to be a tremendous source for new and diverse theatrical works. I'm proud to be a part of Theatre Bay Area, an organization that encourages and promotes theatre amateurs to think professionally, and theatre professionals to embrace and nurture the whole of the craft.

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