Botanicum Seedlings, Theatricum Botanicum's new play development program, celebrates its 10th Anniversary with SeedlingsFest 2012, offering Theatricum audiences and company members an opportunity to sample fresh new works, plus seasonal gourmet treats and live music. Subtitled a "Festival of (short) Playreadings," SeedlingsFest features two days of plays from emerging and award-winning playwrights interpreting this year's theme, "Hybrids & Heirlooms" - a nod to Seedlings' ten years of supporting plays of varying styles and forms, from traditional to wildly experimental and everything in between. SeedlingsFest 2012 takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, at 2 pm. Admission is free; donations will be gratefully accepted.
"Theatricum is known for classics, but for the past ten years we've also been nurturing today's playwrights and new plays," says Theatricum playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb. "We've presented readings of more than 100 new plays; at least 20 have gone on to be published, win awards and receive major productions across the country. And this year's SeedlingsFest introduces us to the work of seven playwrights who are new to Seedlings, so that's very exciting." Webb created and runs the program with Seedlings literary manager and SeedlingsFest producer Julie Retzlaff.
The "Hybrids & Heirlooms" plays, each of which will be performed on both Saturday and Sunday, include:
Apparently Not by Richard Manley – David is summoned by his eccentric uncle for a mysterious meet aboard a ferry, but he soon sees through Max's strangely veiled motives. Richard Manley's award-winning full lengths include Life is Mostly Straws, An Ignorant Man, Quietus, Matches and The Rough Magic, a winner in this year's Ashland New Play Festival and John Gassner Playwriting Competition which will be produced next year by New York's Resonance Ensemble. He is also the author of numerous short plays. Apparently Not is directed by Paul Turbiak (Theatricum Botanicum, Christine Marie & Ensemble, MFA-CalArts).
Folk Story by Judeth Oden Choi – A moving subway train is the setting for this evocative journey exploring loves lost and found as seasons pass, and the future gets closer. Judeth Oden Choi is a playwright and a teacher of creative writing and theater. She received her BA from Yale and MFA from NYU's Tisch School, and is currently a playwright mentor with Shakespeare Center LA. Her plays include Hattie Horner's Rose (finalist for the Jane Chambers Award), Ain't Got Jack and short plays performed in N.Y.C. Folk Story is directed by Amanda McRaven (Fulbright Scholar, Theatricum Botanicum, Artistic Director Fugitive Kind).
Heirlooms: A Hybrid by Kyle T. Wilson – A playwright looks back on his romantic past with the help of a scene-stealing tomato in this playful meditation on memory. Kyle T. Wilson's scripts have also been developed or performed at theaters including Lark Play Development Center, Clubbed Thumb, Celebration Theater, Company of Angels, Psychic Visions Theatre, Unknown Theater, Theatre of NOTE and Unspoken Theater Group. He holds an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild. Heirlooms: A Hybrid is directed by Ella Martin (Artistic Director Theatre Mab Town Hall, Santa Monica Rep., Theatricum Botanicum).
Noel-Coward! by Edward Giron – This Noel's clever banter and witty repartee don't quite mask his tragic flaw: when it comes to love, he's a complete coward. As an actor, Edward Giron was recently seen on stage at Theatricum in Heartbreak House. He also works as a director and recently directed and performed in a Santa Barbara production of The English Bride by Lucille Lichtblau, following his performance in the 2011 Seedlings playreading. His next role will be in a production of David Ives' New Jerusalem. Noel-Coward! is directed by William Dennis Hunt (Theatricum Botanicum, A Noise Within, Rogue Machine Theatre).
Penelope's Roses by Lisa Kenner – When Penny returns to her childhood home with her intended to dig up her past, something unexpected is unearthed. Lisa Kenner's produced short plays include the girls (Boston Theatre Marathon) and orangutan & lulu (New York's Estrogenius Festival). Her full-length Chambers was a finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, the Lark and WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory. Her work has been performed or developed at SWAN Day Boston, the Blank Theatre, Road Theatre Company, Theatre of NOTE and Jewish Women's Theatre, among others. Penelope's Roses is directed by Sabina Ptasznik (co-Artistic Director of The Vagrancy – formerly A-Z Productions, founder of Tactical Reads with the LA FPI).
Really Jewish by Stephanie Swirsky – An Orthodox Jew and a "half-Jew" embark on their first date during a Shabbat picnic-but how complicated is it, really? Stephanie Swirsky is the recipient of the Kirstie McDonald Mori Emerging Playwright Award for her play, Lashon Hora, and has had plays developed or produced at the Brick Theater, Flea Theater, Platform Group, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory and Western Edge Playwright's Salon, among others. Stephanie received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC. Really Jewish is directed by Kaja Martin (Theatricum Botanicum, Hollywood Fringe Festival, web series WuffMeowChirp).
The Edge of a Disappearing Thing by Chelsea Sutton – A trip down a young girl's jagged memory lane as she recalls the night a comet almost hit the Earth and her sisters finally collided. Chelsea Sutton is a playwright, fiction writer and director. Her plays have been developed or produced in Santa Barbara, New York and Los Angeles. She won first place in NYC Midnight's Flash Fiction Contest 2011 and writes for Fictionade Magazine. She's a member of the Katselas Theatre Company PlayLab, The Vagrancy Writers' Group, Eclectic Voices and LA Female Playwrights Initiative. The Edge of a Disappearing Thing is directed by Kaja Martin (see above).
SeedlingsFest 2012 features an ensemble cast, some members playing multiple roles and some directing. Many are familiar faces from Theatricum's company, including Alan Blumenfeld, Katherine Griffith, William Dennis Hunt, Katherine James and Paul Turbiak, who enjoy collaborating with playwrights on new material and stretching different muscles working on "non-classics."