West Coast Play Works

We were welcomed into the South Coast Repertory (SCR) theatre, for an evening of readings by the Associate Artistic Director; John Glore, and the Artistic Director; Marc Masterson.

We then had dinner with the broader literary team and discussed potential closer collaboration in the coming 24 months.

Every year in April SCR produces the PPF (Pacific Playwriting Festival), showcasing new works to industry professionals and locals audiences in Orange County south of LA.

One of South Coast Repertory’s specific focuses is developing and producing new work. They have a range of initiatives that run alongside the PPF to commission, workshop and develop new work. It has been part of their mission for the past 25 years and their subscriber base embraces it fully.

Later on that evening, both Maxine’s and Reg’s plays were rehearsed and read for an audience of industry guests and general subscribers. Reg’s play is called “The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell” and Max’s play: “Trollop”.

Both readings were sold out and were extremely well received.

Max was very excited to have her reading with South Coast Repertory, it was actually the “first reading of one of her plays in the United States”. Max found it interesting to listen to how the “humour translated” and “hearing the dialogue in a different accent”, and to also see whether the themes “appealed to an audience here”. The rehearsals were “speedy,” but the actors pushed through “with a lot of adrenaline”. According to Max the reading “went well”, because of the positive reaction from the audience Max was reassured that “it could translate across international borders.”

Reg’s “expectations were exceeded”, he thought that the company “embraced our difference.” The actors were really “fantastic”, he thought they “embraced the rhythm of their writing” and Reg was really excited to see this play interpreted in a slightly different context. He really enjoyed it and was delighted to see the “packed house”.

The following morning after hitting the pillow at 1am, we left LA to drive south for San Diego. We went straight to La Jolla Playhouse.

La Jolla Playhouse “advances theatre as an art form and as a vital social, moral and political platform by providing unfettered creative opportunities for the leading artists of today and tomorrow. With our youthful spirit and eclectic, artist-driven approach, we will continue to cultivate a local and national following with an insatiable appetite for audacious and diverse work.” Started in the 1940s by Gregory Peck, La Jolla began as a summer theatre performance place for some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Like a lot of theatres, it has been nurtured, maintained and supported through enormous hope, extraordinary giving and excellent work…

Inscription’s troupe was here to take part in the DNA New Work Series, headed up by dramaturg Shirley Fishman formally of the public theatre in New York and Literary Manager, Gabe Greene.

The DNA New Work Series is a four-week period of workshops and readings of new works that allows playwrights and directors the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources – all culminating in workshops or readings open to the general public.

“All projects in the DNA New Work Series take place with little or no scenic, costume or staging elements, and actors may have scripts in hand. It’s a rare chance for theatre-lovers to be a part of a new work in its earliest stages of development.”

The playwrights spent a great day sitting in on the workshops and then discussing their own playwriting with key players at La Jolla including Christopher Ashley, Shirley and Gabe, as well as visiting artists in the workshop series itself.

Inscription Director Marcus West comments: “we are delighted to share the scripts and approach of four leading Australian playwrights with two of the best west coast theatre companies in the US, who like us, are devoted to the development of new work which captivates audiences. It’s been a very exciting dialogue and a great opportunity for us all.”

Tomorrow it’s a 6am flight from California’s sunny climes to the snow and ice of Chicago. Winter woollies are packed and ready.

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