Boston Court Pasadena announced the full details of its 14th annual New Play Reading Festival, which will happen July 19 – 28, 2018. Curated by Literary Manager Emilie Beck, in concert with Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky and Michael Michetti, the New Play Reading Festival is a key component of Boston Court Pasadena’s commitment to nurturing playwrights and new theatrical work.
The plays for the 2018 New Play Reading Festival are How the Light Gets In by E.M. Lewis, Pairi Daiza by Nahal Navidar, Ladies by Kit Steinkellner, and Drunk at the Base of the Bodhi Tree by Julie Hébert. Additional finalists were Three Girls Never Learnt the Way Home by Matthew Paul Olmos and The Chinese Lady Performs for Us by Louisa Hill.
“This year, we received 230 submissions for our New Play Reading Festival,” said Boston Beck. “We are thrilled that three of the four playwrights are based in Los Angeles and all four are women. While we read without attention to gender, we were drawn to these voices, which speak to a wide array of underrepresented female experiences.”
The New Play Reading Festival is open to the public and free-of-charge, but reservations are recommended. Information and reservations are available online at bostoncourtpasadena.org, and by calling 626-683-6801.
About the plays and the playwrights
֍ Saturday, July 21 at 11:00 am – How the Light Gets In. Written by E.M. Lewis. Directed by Emilie Beck
A travel writer who never travels. A Japanese architect who can’t figure out how to build a simple tea house. A tattoo artist who refuses to draw on a woman’s skin. And a homeless girl who lives under a weeping willow tree in the Japanese Garden. Four lonely people find each other when one of them falls apart.
- M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, an L.A. Weekly Award for Production of the Year, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. Her play Now Comes the Nightwas part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Washington DC, and was published in the anthology Best Plays from Theater Festivals 2016. The Gun Showpremiered in Chicago in 2014, and has since been produced in nearly thirty different theaters across the country, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; it was published in The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016. She lives in Oregon.
֍ Saturday, July 21 at 2:00pm – Pairi Daiza. Written by Nahal Navidar. Directed by Shishir Kurup
When 24-year-old Iranian Independent-Fighter Zahra learns she is 7 months pregnant in the heat of the Iran-Iraq war, she rejects her maternal instincts and chooses to remain in combat. As her impending due date approaches, Zahra must learn how to deal with the traumas of her past life and open herself up to hope and love.
Nahal Navidar is an Iranian-born playwright raised in upstate New York. Her plays are motivated by the exploration of social issues while employing magical elements to awaken the expanse of human emotion. Nahal’s plays have been developed at Silk Road Rising, Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, The Vagrancy’s Writer’s Group, Troy Foundry Theatre, Couerage Theatre’s Colab Play Development, Rogue Machine’s Dramaturge’s Table, Company of Angels, The Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Pasadena Playhouse, Golden Thread Productions, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Kennedy Center, and SUNY Albany. Nahal holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild of America. NNavidar.com
֍Saturday, July 28 at 11:00am- Ladies. By Kit Steinkellner. Directed by Michael Michetti
Ladies is a fictional account of a year in the life of The Blue Stocking Society, the world’s first major feminist movement in 1750’s London, and explores the tangled knot of electric and jagged relationships that comprise this group. These women are pioneers and revolutionaries, emboldened by the call to arms to be the first of their kind and burdened by the misfortune of being born far ahead of their time.
Kit Steinkellner is the creator and executive producer of the forthcoming Facebook Watch half-hour series Sorry for Your Loss starring Elizabeth Olsen, Janet McTeer, Kelly Marie Tran, Jovan Adepo, and Mamoudou Athie. She has also developed with Showtime and wrote on the Amazon series Z: The Beginning of Everything. As a playwright, her work has been produced Off-Broadway at Playwright’s Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater, at the San Diego Old Globe, and at the Kennedy Center. Her plays have been praised by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and L.A.Weekly. Steinkellner is the author of the graphic novel Quince which won the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards Award for Best Graphic Novel and has been nominated for a 2018 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.
֍ Saturday, July 28 at 2:00pm – Drunk at the Base of the Bodhi Tree. By Julie Hébert. Directed by Jessica Kubzansky
A woman with a broken ankle washes up at the base of a Bodhi tree in the foothills of SoCal seemingly out of nowhere. When another woman hiking in on a solitary mission to commune with a dead man encounters this intruder, sparks fly as they navigate the tricky terrain of understanding–until a real brush with danger changes everything once more.
Julie Hébert is a writer and director of theater, film and television. She has twice been honored with the PEN Award for Drama for The Knee Desires the Dirt and Tree. Her plays have been produced widely and she has directed for theaters including Steppenwolf, the Magic, the Women’s Project, and LaMaMa. Her work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, the Gerbode Foundation, the California Arts Council and others. She is an alumna of New Dramatists, where she won the distinguished In the Spirit of America Award from the MacLean Foundation. Hébert adapted her musical play Ruby’s Bucket of Blood for Showtime with Angela Bassett; her film Female Perversions, with Tilda Swinton, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. With John Wells, she co-directed a 9/11 documentary, In Their Own Words, which was honored with the George Foster Peabody Award. Hébert has written and directed for several highly regarded television series from The West Wing to American Crime. Currently, she is developing a series with Fox and writing/producing for the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle, based on a Philip K. Dick novel. Hébert is also the Executive Director and creative force behind Look What SHE Did!, a non- profit organization creating video interviews promoting untold stories of amazing women.
Tickets for these events are free, but reservations are recommended. Boston Court Pasadena is located at 70 N Mentor Ave. Pasadena, CA 91106. Learn more at BostonCourtPasadena.org
Photo: New Play Reading Festival 2017. Courtesy of Boston Court Pasadena
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