Boston Court Announces 13th Annual New Play Reading Festival

Boston Court Announces 13th Annual New Play Reading FestivalBoston Court, Pasadena's Intimate Home for the Performing Arts, today announced the full details of its 13th annual New Play Reading Festival. Curated by Literary Manager Emilie Beck, in concert with Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky and Michael Michetti, the New Play Reading Festival is a key component of Boston Court's commitment to nurturing playwrights and new work, and continues the company's core mission of developing and programming works that are inherently theatrical, textually rich, and visually arresting.

The New Play Reading Festival is comprised of five plays and two panel discussions, and will take place July 17 - 29, 2017 in the 99-seat Main Stage and 80-seat Marjorie Branson Performance Space at Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, CA. All events are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

"This year we wanted to focus strongly on L.A. playwrights," noted Boston Court Literary Manager Emilie Beck. "There's a breadth of talent here, and we were eager to celebrate and support the work of our local writers." The focus on Los Angeles playwrights included a submission process that yielded over 135 scripts, and resulted in four of the five chosen plays being penned by local playwrights.

In addition to the five play readings, this year's Festival will also include an informal preview discussion with the artistic directors and literary manager, as well as a panel of the festival's playwrights who will discuss writing the type of non-naturalistic, theatrical, and poetic work that forms the core of the Boston Court aesthetic.

The 2017 New Play Reading Festival features Hitler's Tasters by Michelle Kholos Brooks, This Floating World by Tira Palmquist, Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander, Cricket Woman by Tiffany Antone, and Night Dust Journey by Mickey Birnbaum. Additional finalists were The Lovebirds by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, Local Gods and Demons by David Holstein, Hang Man by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, The Hidden People by Joe Waechter, and Still Life With Native Mother by James William Evans.

The New Play Reading Festival is open to the public and free-of-charge, but reservations are recommended. Information and reservations are available online at, by calling 626-683-6801, or by visiting Boston Court Performing Arts Center (70 N. Mentor Ave in Pasadena).

The 2017 New Play Reading Festival is made possible, in part, through support from the Dramatists Guild Fund.

The 13th Annual New Play Reading Festival

Monday, July 17, 2017
New Play Reading Festival Preview
Join Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky & Michael Michetti, and Literary Manager Emilie Beck, for an informal, interactive conversation about the plays featured in this year's New Play Reading Festival, as well as a look into the process of selecting plays and what makes the "Boston Court ethos."

Saturday, July 22, 2017
Hitler's Tasters
By Michelle Kholos Brooks
Directed by Michael Michetti

Three times a day, every day, a group of young women have the opportunity to die for their country. They are Adolph Hitler's food tasters. And what do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls throughout time, they gossip and dream, they question and dance. Deliberately anachronistic, stretching across time to autocracy today, these young women want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.

This Floating World
By Tira Palmquist
Directed by Beth Lopes

When a woman of means crashes her car in a no-man's land, she finds herself on a long, strange trip home. Wasn't she always lucky? Didn't she always know how to make her way in the world? But this place is bewildering, and weirdly, there's a creature who seems to understand her better than the humans. There, on the margins of here and there, between suburbia and wilderness, she's desperate to cling to the things that seem to be slipping away from her. Or, maybe, it's all already gone, and she just couldn't see it.

Sweet Maladies
By Zakiyyah Alexander
Directed by Dominic Taylor

Two years after slavery has been abolished, three recently freed girls play with the only game they know: history. What does it mean to be "freed"? Power struggles erupt as the women play an increasingly dangerous game of mistress and servant, especially when the mistress purports to love her servants. Everything changes when the lines of role-play and truth blur and then collide. A dark comedy set in the time of Reconstruction. Inspired by Jean Genet's The Maids.

Monday, July 24, 2017
Writing the Unusual: Representing the Known World in Unfamiliar Ways
A Panel Discussion

Dogs talking to strangers. Teenagers taking phone-selfies in the 1940s. The world of theater does not always look like the world as we know it. While some plays seek to hold the mirror up to nature, many plays look beyond the realistic for the imaginative and the surreal. What kinds of storytelling are uniquely available to theater, and what artistic value might we find outside of the naturalistic? What happens when we call attention to, rather than hide, the artifice of representation? Join the conversation with a panel of our New Play Reading Festival playwrights, as they discuss the relationship between realism and performance in their own work. Will include an audience Q&A.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Cricket Woman
By Tiffany Antone
Directed by Emilie Beck

Aura Bloom can't sleep. She's consumed with grief over our ever-warming planet and in despair over recent social/political events. So, when Aura seduces an unsuspecting Census Worker and claims he's impregnated her, it's no wonder that her husband, Billy, thinks she's gone over the edge. In the months that follow, Aura prepares to birth an extinction-level plague: Mother Earth's final punishment for mankind's carelessness. A play about crickets, politics, sex, unemployment, and... oh yeah, the end of the world.

Night Dust Journey
By Mickey Birnbaum
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

Amy is a nuclear mitigation technician on assignment in Kazakhstan. Her husband Tom Sells high-end real estate. As their cities, their jobs, and their marriage implode, their neglected teenage daughter Libby embarks on an unlikely love affair with the theater. Full of mystical encounters, living buildings, impossible journeys, and comic twists, Night Dust Journey wonders what place the American dream and the American family might still have in an irradiated, unstable, post-truth world.

About Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Located in Pasadena, California, Boston Court Performing Arts Center is non-profit arts center primarily dedicated to new and original work by living artists. Founded in 2003 by philanthropist Z. Clark Branson, Boston Court features a state-of-the-art, intimate facility designed to bring audiences and artists closer together. The 75-seat Marjorie Branson Performance Space and the 99-seat Main Stage serve as homes for Boston Court's season of bold, risky theatre and its eclectic, diverse music series. Boston Court Performing Arts Center is also the home of an annual new play festival, an Emerging Artists Series, as well as Art Upfront, a rotating visual arts program. Boston Court is led by an 11-member Board of Directors, Executive Director Kyle Clausen, and Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky and Michael Michetti (Theatre), and Mark Saltzman (Music).

Key funding is provided by Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Dramatists Guild Fund, The Shubert Foundation, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Colburn Foundation, Lazy L. Foundation, Pasadena Arts & Cultural Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, Pasadena Art Alliance, and the Z. Clark Branson Foundation.

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