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From left: Christine Quintana, Naomi Lorrain, Katie Do, John J. Caswell Jr., Spenser Davis, and Michael Shayan.

SCR Returns With In-Person Pacific Playwrights Fest

This year’s fest will feature 5 staged readings, 1 full production, and excerpts from a new musical in development.

COSTA MESA, CALIF.: South Coast Repertory (SCR) has announced the lineup for their Pacific Playwrights Festival, which will be in-person for the first time since 2019. Last year’s digital readings remain available on the SCR website. All projects are part of the Lab@SCR.

The festival, which will run April 8-10, will include staged readings of A Million Tiny Pieces by Spenser Davis; how to roll a blunt by Naomi Lorrain; love you long time (already) by Katie Do; Scene Partners by John J. Caswell Jr.; and avaaz by Michael Shayan. The festival will also feature a production of Clean/Espejos by Christine Quintana, with Spanish translation and adaptation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes. A co-world premiere with the Neworld Theatre in Vancouver, Clean/Espejos was featured in last year’s digital festival and will be performed in both English and Spanish with subtitles in both languages.

In addition to the production and readings, the festival will feature the audience experience Samples from the Lab, a presentation of excerpts from the new musical Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life. The event will also include a chance to hear from the creative team, including composers Anika and Britta Johnson and librettist Nick Green.

“This year’s festival is one with a lot of playfulness in it, and I think audiences are going to have a thoroughly different experience each time they step into the theatre,” Andy Knight, South Coast Rep’s literary manager and festival co-director, said in a statement. “There’s a boldness of storytelling in the lineup, particularly in the writers’ use of form, genre, and engagement.”

Prior to the April 9 evening performance of Clean/Espejos, the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) will present the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, which recognizes the best scripts premiering professionally outside of New York. The ATCA will also present the Osborn Award, which recognizes the work of an author whose plays have not yet received a major production or other major national awards. The Osborn Award is named in memory of M. Elizabeth Osborn, a former play editor of this magazine.

Clean/Espejos follows two women from different worlds whose lives collide at a luxury resort in Cancún during a rainstorm. The gripping bilingual drama will be directed by Lisa Portes.

Spenser Davis.

An SCR commission, Davis’ A Million Tiny Pieces follows two journalists who hop halfway across the globe to find the answer to how a simple video game sparked a worldwide legal battle and split the Iron Curtain. The true story of Tetris will be directed by SCR artistic director David Ivers.

Naomi Lorrain. (Photo by Stan Demidoff)

Lorrain’s how to roll a blunt follows two unattached, unrelated, under-appreciated roommates and artists in New York in a witty exploration of Black art, Black love, and the pursuit of Black excellence.

Katie Do.
John J. Caswell Jr.

A Vietnamese mother and daughter grapple with their immigration to America in Do’s love you long time (already), a play about navigating love with all its sharp corners and quiet complexities. Mei Ann Teo will direct.

Set in the winter of 1985, Scene Partners is about a 75-year-old woman skipping out on Milwaukee for sunny L.A., with big dreams, a little money, and a whole lot of nerve.

Michael Shayan.

Shayan’s avaaz takes place on Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, as the souls of ancestors come alive and visit. Moritz von Stuelpnagel will direct.

Logan Vaughn will direct excerpts from Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life. The musical follows the devoted followers of the deceased Dr. Silver, who are gathering in a secret location to celebrate his legacy and try to reach the “Beautiful Part.”

The Lab@SCR is a comprehensive new play development infrastructure that provides resources with which artists can imagine, create, and develop new work for SCR and the American theatre.

South Coast Repertory produces a balance of classics and modern plays and musicals and is renowned for its extensive new-play development program.

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