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South Coast Repertory's Pacific Playwrights Festival to feature emerging writers and a musical

March 9, 2011 |  5:37 pm

OctavioSolis2009ChristineCotter South Coast Repertory’s annual Pacific Playwrights Festival, featuring staged readings (and a singing) of five new plays that are still works in progress, will take place April 29-May 1, the Costa Mesa theater announced.

This year's lineup includes “Cloudlands,” a new musical by San Francisco playwright Octavio Solis (pictured), well known to South Coast audiences as the author of “La Posada Magica,” which ran as a Christmas season perennial for 15 years until it became a recession casualty after its 2008 staging, and by lyricist-composer Adam Gwon, whose musical “Ordinary Days” was well-received last year at SCR. “Cloudlands” is about a daughter trying to unravel her mother’s secrets.

None of the four other playwrights has had a show produced at South Coast, although Steven Drukman and Sharr White are veterans of past Pacific Playwrights Festival readings. Drukman’s “The Prince of Atlantis,” which had a previous public reading at South Coast in January, is a comedy about a jailed seafood importer faced with how to handle the reemergence of a son he had given up for adoption 30 years before.  White’s “Annapurna” is named for a Himalayan peak but concerns another man faced with a long-lost relation –- a dying poet whose ex-wife turns up 20 years after she’d suddenly disappeared.

“The Droll (Or, a Stage Play about the END of Theatre),” imagines a world in which theater is banned, but a troupe resists by organizing a clandestine performance of “Hamlet.” It’s by Meg Miroshnik, a master’s degree candidate at the Yale School of Drama.

Another newcomer, Catherine Trieschmann, lives in a small Kansas town; her play, “How the World Began,” concerns a furor that erupts after a new biology teacher, transplanted to a small Kansas town from New York City, offends her new neighbors’ religious sensibilities with a remark in class about the origins of life.

Running concurrently with the staged readings are two world premiere productions that are part of SCR’s season: “Silent Sky,” Lauren Gunderson’s historical play about Henrietta Leavitt, an early 20th century astronomer, and “Completeness,” Itamar Moses’ romantic comedy involving a computer scientist and a microbiologist.


South Coast Repertory's new artistic director has his predecessors and a rival for ongoing company

If they can make it there...

 -- Mike Boehm

Photo: Octavio Solis. Credit: Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times