This weekend at its third New Voices Festival, the Old Globe Theatre will showcase new works by promising playwrights. Among the four whose plays will receive a staged reading is New Yorker Nick Gandiello. His new play, The Blameless, couldn’t be more topical, telling the story of a family dealing with the loss of their son in a shooting. But Gandiello’s play is about coping and compassion, not political commentary.
“Politics are actually a reflection of the things that scare us the most, and that can get people really angry,” Gandiello said. “The humans in this play are trying not to access that part of themselves. They’re not reactive and angry. We can’t have a discourse for each other until we feel for each other.” The Blameless, which is being directed by the Old Globe’s artistic director, Barry Edelstein, approaches its dark subject with sensitivity and humor. Audiences will hear the play read from the stage by actors— no scenery, no costumes, no lights. Just Gandiello’s words and the emotions they convey.
“It helps me very much understand the rhythm of the play and what moments are engaging,” Gandiello said. The format also affords him “a chance to hopefully make people laugh and give them a moment to cry if they have to.”
Edelstein says the three-day reading series, which also includes Sheri Wilner, Julia Jordan and Adam Gwon’s musical Cake Off, Jiehae Park’s Peerless and Mona Mansour’s Unseen, is critical for the evolution of the Old Globe.
“A great theater has to always be discovering and creating new voices,” he said. “The Globe needs to have an infrastructure for systematic, thoughtful development of new plays.”
He’s also looking for plays that the Globe could potentially produce one day and to “build relationships with artists who interest us.”
It’s Gandiello’s approach to the subject matter that left Edelstein “riveted” the first time he read the play.
“What is really cool about it is Nick looks at this terrible thing not from the point of view of the politics of guns, but from a purely family dynamic,” Edelstein said. “He’s asking from that purely human point of view ‘How do you move on?’” The Third Annual New Voices Festival runs Jan. 15-17 at the Old Globe’s
Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Balboa Park. Free, but reservations required. 619-23-GLOBE or theoldglobe.org
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush: This world premiere play sees the famous British sleuth traveling to Alaska in an attempt to prove a client’s innocence. Written by Joseph Vass, it opens Jan. 13 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
When the Rain Stops Falling: This multi-generational drama centers on Gabriel York, who fears that a fish falling from the sky will bring the end of the world. Presented by Cygnet Theatre Company, it opens Jan. 14 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Coyote in a Fence: Based on a true story, Bruce Graham’s play about two very different death row inmates challenges audiences to reconsider guilt and innocence. It opens Jan. 15 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
New Voices Festival: The third annual festival will feature four readings of new productions by up-andcoming playwrights. It happens over three days starting Jan. 15 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Sylvia: A couple of empty nesters are forced to confront underlying issues in their relationship after adopting a dog in A.R. Gurney’s comedic romp. It runs through Jan. 24 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
The Nerd: Larry Shue’s comedy about a geeky architect whose life gets a little more exciting when an old comrade shows up at his door. Directed by Robert Smyth, it runs through Feb. 14 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org