Monday, March 23, 2009

It's My Playground

Thys, Parnell and Misner perform The Experiment

There is a book about the early days of improv comedy (Spolin, 2nd City et al) called "Something Wonderful Right Away"
And That seems to sum up what PlayGround is all about.

Ostensibly for writers, PlayGround is a Bay Area institution going on it's 15th year.

Each month, from October through March, PlayGround announces a topic to a the writers pool made up of top Bay Area playwrights, inviting the submission of original ten-page plays. You get the topic on Friday and the completed play has to be emailed by 2 o'clock the following Tuesday. The best six of these plays are presented as staged readings with full lights and sound at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The top directors and actors of the Bay Area rehearse for a couple of hours and then they throw it up onstage. The audience is raucous, the performances have no time to calcify and it is a hell of a good evening. I was in the actors pool for a couple of years and joined the writers pool year before last. The topic this month was "Adaptation of a Fairy Tale" and my play The Experiment was selected.
For the complete text, click here.

The Experiment was directed by none other than the Artistic Director of PlayGround himself, Jim Kleinmann. It featured a hilarious Louis Parnell and Sam Misner (who I had the pleasure of having as my T.A at the Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre a couple of years ago) and of course the divine Danielle Thys played Rip Van Winkle's harpy wife Doris.
It was a pure delight watching these actors bring my writing to life.

Danielle, who is so beautiful and talented and funny was a hoot. I never cease to be amazed at her skills as a performer and her depth and compassion as a person. I'm so lucky to know this great woman.
Her "Left Coast Soul" band The Wicked Mercies played at the El Rio in San Francisco that same week but I had to miss it as I was still performing Shipwrecked! in San Diego. Damn.

Anyway, Long Live PlayGround and the spirit of making something wonderful right away.
Prolonged rehearsals and careful study and considered processes are so over-rated!

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