Today, May 26 @ 2:00pm, the Orange County Playwrights Alliance's OCPA Studios series returns to the Hunger Artists Theatre Company with the reading of Erica's Bennett's drama Water Closet. The resumption of the series also marks a new chapter: OCPA Studios is now a benefit series of play readings, with 100 percent of the box office going to the host theatres.
Home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and descending into the depths of PTSD, Dr. Mary Lorenz, a cognitive psychologist and expert interrogator in the U.S. Army Reserves, finds that secrets will not stay buried in her mind or the past. Her relationship with her boyfriend unravels in a Vegas hotel room. Rescued by her grandmother Oma, the two journey home together. On the way, Mary confronts the physical and emotional trauma endured as the orphaned granddaughter of a German Nazi while Oma finally comes clean about their family's past and what happened in the WATER CLOSET. How do we continue to live when we are already dead?
Last November, Water Closet was read by the White Horse Theater Company at the Dramatists Guild of America's Frederick Loewe Room in New York. The play was also workshopped and presented in a staged reading at the Fullerton College New Play Festival in January.
Erica Bennett is a playwright and a tenured librarian at Fullerton College. Her short documentary Mendez v. Westminster: Families for Equality (about the 1945-1947 desegregation case) has aired on KOCE-TV (PBS) since October 2010. The film is centered around her play El Primer Dia de Clases, performed by Fullerton College Mendez Project students for the community and OC high school students in 2008-2009. Her plays Freed and Jolly and Bean were respectively presented in staged readings at the Laguna Beach New Play Festival and Newport Theatre Arts Center in 2009. Bennett received her BA in Theater from California State University, Fullerton, and studied acting with Jose Quintero and Stella Adler. She is featured in Benicio Del Toro's short film Submission, and she worked for nearly a decade in TV production on such shows as The Young Riders, Gabriel's Fire, Under Suspicion and The Big Easy. Bennett has a Master of Library & Information Science degree from UCLA and is a member of the Society of California Archivists, the Dramatists Guild of America and OCPA.
The Orange County Playwrights Alliance (OCPA) began on April 1, 1995 with an informal meeting in an oncologist's office in Anaheim. Since then, OCPA has become the fundamental group for playwrights in O.C., presenting staged readings and productions of plays at intriguing local theatres. Its playwrights have been produced across the U.S., and have won national and regional playwriting awards.
Named after a short story by Franz Kafka, the Hunger Artists Theatre Company was founded in 1996 and quickly emerged as a crucial destination for new plays in Orange County. The ensemble has received sustained acclaim and numerous awards for producing contemporary American plays, including notable new works such as The Gog/Magog Project, The Land Southward, The Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday Pageant, Sans Merci, Cockfighters, The Pledge Drive: Ruminations On The Hunger Artist, The Cantor's Tale and the current Great Western Wanderlust. The ensemble's Beyond Convention festival annually pushes the boundaries of the short play form.
OCPA Studios Presents Water Closet, a new play by Erica Bennett on Saturday, May 26, at 2:00pm, performed by the Hunger Artists Theatre Company at 699-A S. State College Blvd., Fullerton. $5 suggested donation. Reservations: 714.902.5716.