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Playwrights Fest coming to SCR

The April 27 to 29 program will feature readings of five plays by up-and-coming writers.

April 19, 2012|By Candice Baker, Special to the Pilot
  • Addi McDaniel and Adam Kaokept in South Coast Repertory's world premiere musical of "Cloudlands."
Addi McDaniel and Adam Kaokept in South Coast Repertory's… (Ben Horak, South…)

Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory is preparing for a whirlwind weekend, with the return of the 15th annual Pacific Playwrights Festival from April 27 to 29.

At the heart of the event is a set of five plays that will be given staged readings: "Warrior Class," "You Are Here," "I And You," "The Few" and "Smokefall."

"As in any given year, they're the five best plays across our doorway over the past year or so," said SCR Associate Artistic Director John Glore, also co-director of the Festival.

"We spend the entire year looking for plays to put in each year's Festival. There's a lot of variety in them, from realistic dramas to a very fantastic family story in 'Smokefall.' "

The Festival also opens and closes with the debuts of new shows: Steven Drukman's "The Prince of Atlantis," running through April 29, and Adam Gwon and Octavio Solis' musical "Cloudlands," which runs April 15 to May 6.

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"I encourage people to take in as much of the Festival as they can," Glore said, as it is an opportunity to view seven new pieces of theater in the span of 48 hours. "While it sounds daunting, I expect, to the most casual theatergoers, once you get into it, it becomes so exciting."

Glore described terraces and lobbies filled with avid theatergoers and representatives from theater companies across the country, hoping to find a new play to take back home with them.

"All this happens in a whirlwind of activity," he said. "Companies coming here get sunshine and warm weather as part of the draw, and finding a play they can debut is another part of it. The Pacific Playwrights Festival, I think it's fair to say, is out there leading the way, just based on the number of people who come here from out of town. It's our busiest time of year to be sure."

'Something to be discovered'

The Festival culminates with the staging of a new production, "Cloudlands."

"It's a brand new musical; it's the first time South Coast Repertory has ever commissioned a whole musical," said Glore, who in addition to his other duties is the dramaturge for "Cloudlands."

Glore added that the process of bringing it to life has been a year and a half in the making, and has been both intense and expensive. With creators scattered in San Francisco, New York and Chicago, scheduling has posed its difficulties, he said.

"We've done musicals periodically over the years," Glore said, but they have always been already established ones.

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