Photo courtesy of Old Globe Theatre
The New Voices Festival features staged readings of emerging playwrights’ works.
For the fourth consecutive year, San Diego theatergoers will have the opportunity to hear works still in their important gestation stages crafted by talented emerging playwrights from around the country. That's right: hear. Over the weekend of Jan. 13, the Old Globe Theatre's Powers New Voices Festival will present, free of charge, staged readings of plays-in-the-works by JC Lee, Tanya Saracho, Karen Zacarias and Anna Ziegler. There also will be an encore of works inspired by City Heights residents (first presented last October) and two dance-theater pieces.
"It's a series that started with the simple goal of having writers meet San Diego and the Old Globe, and it's bearing incredible fruit all around the country now," says Old Globe associate producer Eric Keen-Louie, pointing out that past festival works have gone on to be produced nationwide. And they're being produced in San Diego as well. Just last year, Kimber Lee's brownsville song (b-side for tray) enjoyed a full production at Moxie Theatre, as did Jiehae Park's Peerless. And this year, Nick Gandiello's The Blameless, read at the 2016 New Voices Festival, will be staged by the Globe beginning Feb. 23.
"Audiences in San Diego love new work," Keen-Louie said. "There's a generosity of opinion, and all of the feedback that we get is really helpful."
Playwrights like Lee, whose political-minded What You Are will be read on Jan. 15, appreciates that feedback and uses it to hone his work.
"I try to listen to the moments, the key points when the audience and the play interact," Lee explains. "Being a playwright is like being a composer, but part of your instrument is the audience. Readings of a work are really instructive because you get a sense of how it will transform itself into a production.
"I am beholden to the audience."
Here's the festival schedule: Arranged, by Anna Ziegler (directed by Matt Morrow), Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; The Living Altar, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m.; Fade, by Tanya Saracho (directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg), Jan. 14 at 4 p.m.; Native Gardens, by Karen Zacarias (directed by James Vasquez), Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; What You Are, by JC Lee (directed by Edward Torres), Jan. 15 at 4 p.m.
The Powers New Voices Festival runs Jan. 13 through Jan. 15 at the Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park. Tickets are free and available beginning Jan. 6 at noon. theoldglobe.org
Beau Jest: A comical romp about a young woman who hires an actor in order to convince her parents that she’s engaged to a Jewish doctor. Written by James Sherman, it opens Jan. 6 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Play it Again, Sam: The Woody Allen comedy about a bookish and insecure fella who gets a little help with the ladies from an imagined Humphrey Bogart. Directed by Charley Miller, it opens Jan. 6 at the OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
Waiting for Godot: Samuel Beckett’s classic play about two buddies waiting for a mysterious man that they hope will help them change their life for the better. Directed by Grant Gelvin, it opens Jan. 6 at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Marjorie Prime: The San Diego premiere of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer-nominated play about a future where lifelike robots provide companionship to society’s loneliest. Directed by Matthew Wiener, it opens Jan. 11 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org