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Stephen Adly Guirgis travels to Arabia, via Long Beach

August 18, 2009 | 10:17 am

Stephen Guirgis in Ojai Stephen Adly Guirgis has been blogging for Culture Monster from the recent Ojai Playwrights Conference in scenic Ventura County. The summit ended on Sunday, but the New York playwright isn't heading home to the East Coast just yet.

On Friday, he's headed for Long Beach, where Alive Theatre is performing "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings." Guirgis, who wrote the play in 1999, will stick around for a Q&A after the opening night performance at the Old Expo Furniture Warehouse on Atlantic Avenue.

Surely a playwright-actor of Guirgis' stature could be spending his time in L.A. meeting with agents, pitching scripts to the studios and rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite. So how did a tiny theater company in Long Beach manage to snag him for the evening?

Simple, says Alive's associate director, Jeremy Aluma: Facebook.

"I found him through Facebook, and I started e-mailing him," Aluma says. "I've been in contact with Stephen for the last six weeks. I just worked real hard."

It also helped that one of the actors at Alive attended a workshop at New York's LAByrinth Theater Company -- where Guirgis was recently named co-artistic director -- and further implored the playwright to attend the opening night.

"In Arabia We'd All Be Kings" is set in a pre-gentrified Times Square and follows the stories of several seedy characters as they attempt to eek out a living through drugs, sex and other dangerous behavior.

The production runs through Sept. 12.

-- David Ng

Photo: Stephen Adly Guirgis. Credit: Laignee Barron