Press Release

The lineup for South Coast Repertory’s 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF), April 20-22, includes works from playwrights Amy Freed, Qui Nguyen and Kemp Powers. This year’s festival offers two full productions and five staged readings.

“As the Pacific Playwrights Festival enters its third decade of operation, I’m heartened by the important role the festival has played in the discovery, development and dissemination of outstanding new plays, and in furthering the careers of America’s most talented playwrights,” said John Glore, SCR associate artistic director and PPF co-director. “We’ve helped launch well more than 100 plays in PPF, and we’ve done it with the vital support of both our local audiences and a growing cohort of theatre professionals who visit us every year to share in the work. Like every PPF in the first 20 years, this one will be a glorious theatre binge for new-play lovers and a great big three-day party for all involved.”

Two of the seven plays have come out of SCR’s renowned play commissioning program.

“Many of these plays in the festival this year touch on the nature of love in all of its foibles and messiness,” said Kimberly Colburn, SCR literary director and PPF co-director. “I think these are plays that exemplify how humans are united by their desires—and their sometimes humorous struggles—and that we are not as divided as some might believe.”

In addition to new scripts by longtime SCR collaborators Freed and Nguyen, works by four writers new to the festival are featured: Julia Doolittle, Caroline V. McGraw, Madhuri Shekar and Kevin Artigue.

The two full productions at the 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival are:

March 24-April 21, Segerstrom Stage
World premiere
by Amy Freed
directed by Art Manke
dramaturg: John Glore

In Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio wins. But, what if a 16th-century woman had written it? In Amy Freed’s clever and wickedly funny spin on the classic, Kate triumphs, too. When her unstoppable force meets his immovable object (or is it the other way around?), the impact is red-hot and, oh, so sexy! From the author of The Beard of Avon comes a love story for our time.

April 8-29, Julianne Argyros Stage
Little Black Shadows
World Premiere
by Kemp Powers
directed by May Adrales
dramaturg: Kimberly Colburn

“We is shadows. And shadows is seen, not heard.” In pre-Civil war Georgia, Toy and Colis spend long days on the plantation silently serving adolescent twins Mittie and Daniel. But in the dead of night their world comes alive, as they lie beneath their masters’ beds whispering stories to each other through a vent in the wall. When Father announces the family is moving to Louisiana, the children face uncertain futures. Do they dare come out of the shadows? A compelling testament to the power of the human spirit from one of America’s most promising playwrights.

The five PPF readings are:

Friday, April 2​0, at 1 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Poor Yella Rednecks
by Qui Nguyen
directed by May Adrales
dramaturg: Elizabeth Rothman
A commission of SCR and Manhattan Theatre Club

Shadows of their Vietnamese homeland haunt Tong and Quang’s attempts to settle in a foreign world called Arkansas. Married life is hard, especially for refugees—and even harder when it turns out your first marriage isn’t over. An irreverent hip-hop take on the immigrant story.

Friday, April ​2​0, at 4 p.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
Love and Contracts
by Julia Doolittle
directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
dramaturg: Kimberly Colburn
An SCR commission

Two 18th-century misfits share a passionate tryst in a boathouse. Will their illicit lust lead to a lifelong commitment? Sorry, that’s so 1791. But when they are thrust forward to the present day, they discover that love hasn’t gotten any easier.

Saturday, April 2​1, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
I Get Restless
by Caroline V. McGraw
directed by Jennifer Chambers
dramaturg: Andy Knight

What happens when six years of your life suddenly get erased? Do you try to reconstruct what was lost, or build something new? Are you even the same person? And what do you do about a husband who’s become a stranger?

Sunday, April 2​2, at 10:30 a.m., on the Segerstrom Stage
House of Joy
by Madhuri Shekar
directed by Shelley Butler
dramaturg: Danielle Mages Amato

In an Imperial Harem, in a place like India, in a time like 1666: Hamida, a bodyguard, wakes to the oppression in her midst and decides to do something about it. Seduction, skullduggery and swordplay in a mythic, swashbuckling action-romance for the ages.

Friday, April 20, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m., in the Nicholas Studio
by Kevin Artigue
directed by Leah Gardiner
dramaturg: Jerry Patch

Another black man killed by a white cop. Only this time the cop is the man you love. And you’re a black woman and a cop yourself. Can you trust your heart if the story keeps changing and you don’t know who or what to believe?

Playwrights Panel Discussion: The panel discussion will include playwrights featured in this year’s festival and takes place on Sunday, April 22, from 9-10 a.m., on the Julianne Argyros Stage. The panel discussion is free.

Created in 1998, the Pacific Playwrights Festival has grown into one of the leading festivals of new plays in the country and showcases some of the best new work on SCR’s radar. The festival offerings generate lively conversation, future world premieres and subsequent productions for numerous playwrights. Of the more than 130 plays presented at the festival, nearly all have gone on to productions at other theatres nationwide. PPF-launched plays have been written by such American theatre luminaries as Craig Lucas, Sarah Ruhl, Octavio Solis, Lynn Nottage, Julia Cho, Nilo Cruz, Lauren Gunderson, Richard Greenberg, Qui Nguyen and Lucas Hnath.

The 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with support from The Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers. Special thanks to The Time Warner Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Edgerton Foundation for supporting the development of new plays.

The festival’s Honorary Producers are Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Sophia Hall Cripe and Lawrence Arden Cripe, Yvonne and Damien Jordan, Samuel and Tammy Tang, and Linda and Tod White.

Tickets for individual readings are $18.
Packages to see all five readings are available for $75
Tickets for individual full productions range from $23-83 each (SHREW! and Little Black Shadows)
The Sunday, April 22, playwrights’ panel discussion is free and open to the public.

Theatre Industry Professionals: Theatre industry professionals may select single tickets or a full festival package. Contact the Box Office at (714) 708-5555 or go online at Complete theatre industry information is available from Festival Coordinator Andy Knight, associate literary director, at (714) 708-5062 or