New Play Festival Starts 18th Opening June 29

The Cypress College New Play Festival provides student actors and directors with a place to help develop new plays with professional playwrights from Los Angeles. We are celebrating our eighteenth summer season. Our festival won the OC Weekly best of 2008:

“Mark Majarian and the rest of this community college’s theater department deserve a chorus of hosannas for launching and growing a new-play festival as strong as any in Southern California. Many of the writers—and several of the plays—have subsequently received full-fledged productions at regional and off-Broadway theaters. They provide encouragement and incentive to playwrights, a strange breed of animal that chooses to work in an artistic field where recognition is hard to come by and financial compensation nearly impossible.”

Notable playwright collaborations have been with a reading and production of Oliver Mayer’s “Bold as Love,” Paula Cizmar’s “Venus in Orange” which was produced at the Victory Theater in Burbank, Jonathan Caren’s “Need to Know” produced at the Rogue Machine Theatre, Jennifer Maisel’s “@the speedofjake” produced by Playwright’s Arena, Erik Patterson’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” produced at the Theater of NOTE, Ruth McKee’s “Hell Money” produced at the Chalk Repertory Theater, Doug Cooney’s Long Story Short which won a design award and was invited as an “Invitational Scene” for the Region VIII, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also, Mickey Birnbaum’s “Big Death Little Death” (developed during the 2002 Cypress New Play Festival) which opened the inaugural 2005-06 season of the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company (in Washington D. C.). Mickey’s other play, “Bleed Rail,” (developed during the 2004 Cypress New Play Festival) was performed at the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena. Other notable past collaborations were with Cody Henderson whose play, “Cold Tender” won the 2002 OC Weekly award, Annie Weisman’s “Be Aggressive” which was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2001 and Robert Glaudini’s “Poison Tree” which was produced by the Mark Taper Forum in 2001 and Michael Golamco’s play “Year Zero” which went on to premiere at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in the fall 2009.

Performances: Thursdays 7:00 P.M. (June 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, @ 7 P.M.) through July 27th. There will be a discussion with the writer following each reading. Admission is $5.00 to support the festival.

Studio Theater, Theater Building 9200 Valley View, Cypress 90630

For more information, contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205 or email at mmajarian@cypresscollege.edu.

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“Shostakovich, or Silence” by Jason Grote, Thursday, June 29th at 7 p.m. (3 men, 2 women) 

Sometimes the things an artist must do to keep creating aren’t pretty, even if the art sometimes is. In Jason Grote’s riveting biographical play with music about the prolific Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the Great Terror is imprisoning and murdering writers and artists—and unfortunately for him, Shostakovich is out of favor with Stalin. But the human spirit is more powerful than any kind of artillery. And a composer must contemplate whether to use the power of art to change things, or remain silent.

Jason Grote

Jason Grote’s plays include 1001; Maria/Stuart; Civilization; and Shostakovich, or Silence. He has provided the text for various devised works, including David Levin’s HABIT (2013 OBIE), En Garde Arts’ Basetrack (NYT Top Ten of 2014), and Radiohole’s Tarzana. His work has been produced or developed at Playwrights Horizons, The Denver Center, Soho Rep, PS 122, The Flea, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Woolly Mammoth, Sundance, The O’Neill, The Watermill Center, Center Theater Group, and elsewhere, and translated into German and Slovenian. TV work includes “Mad Men,” “Hannibal,” and “Smash,” and the upcoming “Knightfall,” produced by Jeremy Renner. He has adapted works by John Cheever and Hillary Mantel for film.

“Goat Springs Eternal” by Paula Cizmar, Thursday, July 6th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 3 men or more) 

¡Goat Springs Eternal! is a darkly comedic riff on Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna (1612 – 1614), in which a small town rises up against a voracious commander who never met a woman he didn’t want to abuse or someone else’s property he didn’t want to steal. This contemporary update transports troubling events from the time of Ferdinand and Isabella to the U.S. – Mexico border, where justice is for sale and American companies are eager to buy. But when it all goes wrong, can an entire town get away with murder?

Paula Cizmar

Paula Cizmar is a playwright whose work is concerned with the way stories get told in a culture—and with who gets left out of the discussion. Her work has been produced at Portland Stage Company, the Women’s Project (New York), the Jungle Theatre, San Diego Rep, Passage Theatre, and Playwrights Arena @ LATC, among others. New plays include Antigone X, produced at USC MFA Rep; January, presented in NYC in the New Play Development Series at MultiStages; and The Last Nights of Scheherazade, recipient of the 2016 Israel Baran Award. The Chisera (AKA Lost Borders), was selected for the Mach 33 Festival of Science-Driven Plays. Paula has received commissions from Center Theatre Group, Salt Lake Acting Company, Echo Theatre, Portland Stage Company, and Playwrights Arena. Among her many awards are an NEA grant and a TCG/Mellon On the Road grant. She is a member of the WGA and the Dramatists Guild and is an Associate Professor of Theatre at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. More information: www.paulacizmar.com

“The Subject” by Carolyn Kras, Thursday, July 13th at 7 p.m. (7 women, 4 men) 

Princess Sophia’s dysfunctional royal family includes notoriously mad father King George III, drug-dependent mother Queen Charlotte, sex addict brother Ernest, and five eccentric sisters (a confident stutterer, an agorophobe, an artist, a bossy fashion plate, and an ardent teen). When Sophia is raped and fights to bring the criminal to justice,

her family seeks to mastermind a cover-up of the secret for fear of losing the throne. With its timely themes and strong roles for women, The Subject has been a popular new play with 16 readings (and counting) in 2016-2017. The Subject was commissioned by the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright LUSK Award, had a United Nations Orange Day reading in London, and was developed in Antaeus Playwrights Lab.

Carolyn Kras

Carolyn Kras was recently Playwright in Residence at Sell a Door Theatre Company in London through the support of the Fulbright LUSK Award. Her play The Subject had a United Nations Orange Day Reading featuring Alfred Enoch and has had readings throughout the U.S. and U.K. in 2016-2017 via The Subject Project: https://thesubjectproject.wordpress.com Carolyn received the Visionary Playwright Award and Commission from Theater Masters, and the resulting play Mine & Yours was named a top national new play by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (Finalist), The Kilroys List Honorable Mention, and L. Arnold Weissberger Award Nomination. Her plays have been produced or developed at The Blank Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, Live Girls! Theater, The Looking Glass Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, 20% Theatre Company Chicago. Honors include William Randolph Hearst Creative Artist Fellowship, Shubert Fellowship, Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, Disquiet International Short Play Award, and “Best Playwright” Award in The Looking Glass Theatre’s Writer/Director Forum. Carolyn has a B.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

“Eight Nights” by Jennifer Maisel, Thursday, July 20th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 4 men) 

The lives that inhabit an apartment from 1949 to 2016. A young refugee woman finally free to start anew in the United States confronts the past that haunts her. How much can she move forward without forgetting those she loved? Is history always doomed to repeat itself? Or do you need to voice the darkness to move into the light?

Jennifer Maisel

Jennifer Maisel’s Pen West Literary Award finalist There or Here was workshopped at PlayPenn before its critically acclaimed run at New York’s Hypothetical Theatre and is in talks for a London premiere. Her The Last Seder premiered Off-Broadway after productions in Chicago, D.C. and LA. Plays include Goody Fucking Two Shoes (ATL’s Humana Festival), birds (Rorschach Theatre), Eden (Theatre of NOTE, Original Works Publishing) and Match (UArts New Play Festival). Awards: Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award, Charlotte Woolard and Roger L. Stevens awards; SCR’s California Playwrights Competition; two time PEN West Literary Award finalist; five time Heideman Award finalist, STAGES International finalist. Her #Sandy ran in Moving Arts’ The Car Plays at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center and LiveGirls! in Seattle. She was commissioned by Chalk Rep for her If You Lived Here I Would Be Home By Now for their site-specific Flash Festival in the fall of 2014. She received an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan foundation commission for Out of Orbit, developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Gulfshore New Play Festival, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab and Cal Tech; Out of Orbit recently won the Stanley Award for Drama. Her newest play, @thespeedofJake, was Kilroy nominated. She also writes for film and television; her screenplay, Prodigal Son, went into production in November of 2014. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre – LA Project, DogEar Playwrights Collective, Playwrights Union and the WGA.

“Losing My Religion” by Hannah C. Langley, Thursday, July 27th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 1 man) 

Charity, prized daughter of a radical anti-gay Church, struggles with her faith after failing to convert a nice Jewish boy over Twitter. With the guidance of her alter ego, Judy Garland, and a curious bartender, Charity sees the light and leaves her Church and its ways behind.

Hannah C. Langley

Hannah C. Langley is a playwright and novelist from Valencia, California. A recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley and a current Dramatic Writing MFA Candidate at University of Southern California, I write to expose the real life struggles of young women with a mix of mythology and magic. Her other creative interests lie in raising awareness about mental and physical illnesses as well as LGBTQ+ issues. Hannah currently works as a Teaching Assistant in the School of Dramatic Arts. Her mission is to help improve my students’ writing skills as well as their confidence.