Inaugural Rogue Lab Reading Series Showcases Seven New Plays by LA Playwrights

Inaugural Rogue Lab Reading Series Showcases Seven New Plays by LA Playwrights

Award-winning artists' collective Rogue Artists Ensemble is thrilled to announce the Inaugural Rogue Lab Readings Series, a four-day event that includes readings of seven new works written, directed, and designed by emerging LA artists, as well as post-show discussions and receptions. The reading series will feature new plays by 2018-2019 Rogue Lab playwrights Lisa Sanaye Dring, Eric Fagundes, John Guerra, Mildred Inez Lewis, Chelsea Sutton, and Jennie Webb, and a special new play presentation by writing team Taylor Coffman and Z. Lupetin.

The Rogue Lab Reading Series takes place May 31 June 3 in Plummer Park's Community Center. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 and seats can reserved online at A Rogue Lab Pass will also be available for $25 which will reserve audience members a seat for all seven readings and a reception for a reduced price.

Rogue Artists Ensemble new play readings differ from traditional readings as they bring the world of the play to life through design element presentations. Past readings have included puppet scenes, video imagery, music and more. This approach exemplifies the belief that exploring the modality of how a story is told early in a play's development is critical to a project's overall success and vision. Each Rogue Lab project will feature theatrical elements that give the audience a greater sense of the play's rich tapestry of world-building, character, and text.

Each reading features work by award-winning theatre designers, each of whom has collaborated with their playwright throughout the 2018-2019 Rogue Lab session. Artists include lighting designer Caitlin Eby, choreographer Rhonda Kohl, costume designer Lori Meeker, puppet designer Morgan Rebane, puppet designer Mark Royston, and composer and video artist Anthony Storniolo. Directors include Claudia de Vasco, Estela Garcia, Jessica Hanna, Scarlett Kim, Ricky Pak, Kitty Swink, and Rebecca Wear.

The Rogue Lab was created in 2018 as an incubator for new work that stretches the boundary of what is currently being done onstage, including immersive experiences, interactive design, puppet plays and genre-bending pieces that fit within the Rogues' Hyper-theater aesthetic. The Lab is a 9-month residency in which playwrights create brand new plays from the ground up while collaborating with a designer, composer, or choreographer in order to incorporate the knowledge of their specific theatrical magic into the DNA of the new play.

Rogue Artists Ensemble differs from other theater companies in that it's run by a collective of multidisciplinary artists and designers rather than by actors, writers or directors. By combining ancient storytelling techniques (music, dance, masks, puppetry) with modern technology (digital media, special effects and theatrical illusions), the Rogues cultivate a unique style of live performance unlike any other. They define the combined use of these and other underrepresented art forms as Hyper-theater. Since 2002, the Rogues have created nearly 20 original new works and collaborated with hundreds of artists and community members. Past Rogue Artists Ensemble Hyper-theatrical productions include Zen Shorts, adapted from the book by Jon J. Muth, last seen in Tears of Joy Theatre and The Pasadena Playhouse D is for Dog, produced at South Coast Repertory and designated one of the top-rated productions of 2011 by Bitter Lemons; Gogol Project, adapted by Kitty Felde from three Gogol short stories (Los Angeles Times Critic's Choice Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for adaptation and design LA Weekly Award for design) The Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch, adapted from the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman (recipient of three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards and received an entire chapter in the book Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman ) The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone, adapted from the book by Timothy Basil; the Ovation Award-winning immersive site-specific theatrical experience Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, based on Japanese ghost stories and produced in partnership with East West Players; the Ovation Award-winning Wood Boy Dog Fish, a macabre reimagining of The Adventures of Pinocchio, recently remounted in the Inaugural season at the Garry Marshall Theatre in 2018; and most recently the large scale immersive project Se or Plummer's Final Fiesta, commissioned by the City of West Hollywood.

The Rogue Lab Reading Series is supported by funding from The City of West Hollywood's Arts Division.

The Rogue Lab Reading Series runs May 31 through June 3, with performances on Friday, May 31 at 8pm; Saturday, June 1 at 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, June 2 at 12pm, 3pm, and 7pm; and Monday, June 3 at 7pm. Plummer Park's Community Center, Room 5 is located at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood.
Reading Line-Up:

Far Worse Things
By Chelsea Sutton
Puppet Design by Morgan Rebane
Directed by Claudia de Vasco
Reading On: May 31, 2019 at 7pm

In this modern reimagining of the Frankenstein story, two urban explorers go on their final adventure into an abandoned warehouse in Los Angeles, only to find that there are monsters watching them wherever they go and they don't look the way you imagine. Far Worse Things is a story of obsession, decay, and rules meant to be broken.

Chelsea Sutton (playwright) is a fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter. She is a 2016 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, a 2018 Sewanee Writers Conference Playwright Fellow, a writer in residence at Willapa Bay AiR in 2017, and a Humanitas PlayLA award winner. Most recently she wrote the acclaimed Wood Boy Dog Fish, co-wrote the immersive Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin with Rogue Artists Ensemble. Her plays have been finalists for the O'Neill Playwrights, PlayPenn, and Seven Devils Conferences, and the Stanley Drama, Woodward/Newman Drama, and Reva Shiner Comedy awards.

Morgan Rebane (puppet designer) is an award winning designer, fabricator, and puppeteer based in LA. He recently received an LA Stage Alliance Ovation honor for Puppetry Design in Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin (Rogue Artists Ensemble co-produced with East West Players). Other shows with RAE include: Se or Plummer's Final Fiesta, Wood Boy Dog Fish, Zen Shorts, and Shakespeare(ish). Morgan has also created and designed work for Netflix, Cartoon Network, Story Pirates, Kanye West's Yeezus Tour, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Long Beach Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, South Coast Repertory, and Cornerstone Theater Company. Morgan has a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice from the University of San Francisco and learned the art of puppetry from John Bell at Emerson College.

Claudia de Vasco (director) has been both a performer, producer, and leader in the theatre (and screen) in Texas, Minneapolis, and California. She is currently the Artistic Producing Director for Chalk Rep Theatre in LA and a member of the new class of The Kilroys. She has worked with companies such as Theatre of Note, Independent Shakespeare Company, San Diego Repertory, and the MixedBlood. Claudia is the Managing Director of Emerging Arts Leaders/LA.

To Leave Is To Die A Little
By John Guerra
Costume Design by Lori Meeker
Directed by Ricky Pak
Reading On: June 1, 2019 at 2pm

When Talia Ortiz returns to the rural California town of her birth, she has no idea that a chance encounter in a Greyhound bus station could mean the death of everyone she holds dear. Their only hope? To flee north through a California ravaged by violence and mega-drought towards an uncertain future in the Republic of New Cambria. To Leave Is To Die A Little is a story of family, migration, and the enduring dignity of the human spirit in the face of an ever more dangerous world.

John Guerra (playwright) is a Los Angeles-based writer and dramaturge. His plays include The Last, Best Small Town, (Troy), Separate Parts, Nahar, Static, and Empty Bellies. A graduate of California Institute of the Arts, he is a lover of science fiction, cooking, and unreliable narrators.

Lori Meeker (costume designer) is an artist and designer hailing from beautiful Los Angeles California! She has worked in the world of costume for over 15 years, both as a designer and builder, for humans and puppets. Recent works include Ovation nominated designs for the Rogue Artists Ensemble' s Wood Boy Dog Fish, and Kaidan : Walls Grow Thin. Lori is also a scenic painter and muralist both in the film world and as an in -store sign artist for Trader Joe's.

Ricky Pak (director) is the Artistic Director of the Circle Squared Collective, a Los Angeles based theatre company interested in exploring the intersection between traditional story-telling and avant-garde experimental theatre techniques to bring theatre to a new generation of audience members. He is also a teaching artist for the New York City-based Tectonic Theater Project (AD Mois s Kaufman) creators of the Laramie Project. Ricky holds an MFA in Performance for Theatre, Film, and TV from California State University- Los Angeles, is a member of AEA & SAG/AFTRA and has appeared on numerous TV shows, films, and theatre productions, most recently with Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

Not Cake
By Jennie Webb
Lighting Design by Caitin Eby
Directed by Estela Garcia
Reading On: June 1, 2019 at 7pm

Set in 1924 and 2024, Not Cake is the story of a singular woman in a multi-cultural Los Angeles neighborhood who's determined to use her gifts to help other women. But after 100+ years of fighting for change, she's about ready for her time to be up. Not Cake is a new play about privilege and class, appropriation and agency.

Jennie Webb (playwright) is an LA-based playwright in residence at Rogue Machine (where her dark retail comedy Yard Sale Signs premiered) and Theatricum Botanicum, with works produced and/or supported by theaters and programs including The Playwrights Center's PlayLabs, Great Plains Theatre Conferences, Theatre of NOTE, Road Theatre Summer Playwrights Festivals, Santa Monica Rep, Inkwell Theater, Blank Theatre, Little Black Dress INK, Virginia Avenue Project, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, PlayGround-LA and Moving Arts MADlab. She is currently a member of the Playwrights Union, EST/LA Playwrights Unit and the Dramatists Guild, and co-founder of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative (

Caitlin Eby (lighting designer) is a lighting designer for theatre, dance, theme parks, museums, and architecture. She has contributed to over sixty-five productions during her career and recently achieved her Master of Fine Arts with a focus in Theatrical Lighting Design from California State University, Long Beach. Her most recent credits include the lighting designs for CSULB's Antigone X, The Natural History Museum of LA County's touring exhibit "Extreme Mammals", CSULB's Nora, and her Associate Design work with DIAVOLO: Architecture in Motion. Caitlin currently works as a lighting designer at The Thinkwell Group while working as a freelance lighting designer in the greater Los Angeles area.

Estela Garcia (director) A Los Angeles born native, Estela Garcia is a multi-hyphenate artist, actress-director-movement coach-deviser, community engagement specialist, mask maker/performer, and teacher. She received her MFA from Dell'Arte in ensemble based physical theatre and most recently studied with Viewpoints originator Mary Overlie. In addition to being Movement faculty at CalArts, Garcia is faculty at South Coast Repertory (SCR) and a teaching artists and Community Liaison for Center Theatre Group (CTG). As an actress Garcia is best known for her portrayal of surrealist painter Remedios Varo in her play by the same name and Older Esperanza in The House On Mango Street. Most recent film credits include: A Giant without a Head, Yolis and Valentina.

The Secret Life of Freeways
By Mildred Inez Lewis
Choreography by Rhonda Kohl
Directed by Scarlett Kim
Reading On: June 2, 2019 at 12pm

In The Secret Life of LA Freeways, Pio Pico returns from beyond the grave after an earth shattering tsunami to challenge his descendants to acknowledge his legacy, buried in LA's freeways, in exchange for their safety.

Mildred Inez Lewis (playwright) writes and directs for theater and the digital space. Her most recent directing project was Can Also Play which screened at Outfest Fusion and Outfest (2018). In 2017, she was part of Humanitas' PLAY LA. Her plays were presented on KPFK-FM, Everyday Inferno (NYC), West Side Show Room (Chicago) and the William Inge Festival. She contributed pieces to the Get Out the Vote project and We, the People at Sacred Fools Theater Company. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Playwrights Unit of Ensemble Studio Theatre-Los Angeles, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative and Playground-LA 2018.

Rhonda Kohl (choreographer) was the SDCF Traube Fellow on the Broadway debut of In Transit (Circle in the Square) with Kathleen Marshall. She assisted Ms. Marshall again on Mamma Mia! (Hollywood BowI), Damn Yankees (Roundabout Theatre Reading), and Sweet Charity (Reprise 2.0). Rhonda recently served as assistant director and transition choreographer on Native Gardens (Pasadena Playhouse) directed by Jason Alexander. Select credits include: LA Times Critic's Choice Around the World In 80 Days (Actors Co-op), For The Love Of (Theatre of NOTE), Pocket Universe (Hollywood Fringe) Hello Dolly! (Warehouse Theatre), I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Crown City). SDC Associate Member.

Scarlett Kim (director) is a Korean theatre director and artist who casts versions of herself and others to rehearse life in physical and mediated spacetimes. Scarlett uses performance as survival ritual, intimate exchange, and act of revolution. Recent projects include No Mouse Found (CultureHub/Navel); Nomadic Narratives (CultureHub/Heidi Duckler Dance); Aguante Pichidangui (National Council of Culture & the Arts, Chile), Surplus Novel (La MaMa Umbria Next Generation Residency), Kaspar Kaspar (Pasadena Museum of California Art). She is the Artistic Director of The Mortuary, a performance lab for unclassifiable experiences; a member of Dead Practice, a transnational/transmedia performance collective; and oversees artistic programming at CultureHub LA. MFA, Directing @CalArts

A Season (Working Title)
By Lisa Sanaye Dring
Composed by Anthony Storniolo
Directed by Rebecca Wear
Reading On: June 2, 2019 at 3pm

A Season is a new play exploring the strange unfolding of an unlikely friendship between a woman and her employer.

Lisa Sanaye Dring (playwright) is a writer, director and actor living in LA. She is recently directed Cleo, Theo and Wu by Kirsten Vangsness at Theatre of NOTE. In Fall 2017, she co-wrote Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, a play produced by Rogue Artists Ensemble and East West Players. Lisa has worked with Asolo Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, East West Players, Circle X Theatre Co., Playpenn, SCF @ Son of Semele, One Year Lease, Bread & Puppet Theater, Bootleg Theater, Boston Court, and Sacred Fools. Lisa earned a BA from USC and studied in the Critical Studies school at CalArts.

Anthony Storniolo (composer) is a percussionist, composer, and video artist based in Los Angeles. His interdisciplinary collaborations rely on each medium working intimately with one another to create a holistic multimedia ritual. Through challenging conventional boundaries of disciplinary approach and Western social myths, he proposes a horizontal forum for human connection. His experimentation is grounded in his faith in the potential energy of shared experiences transform us.

Rebecca Wear (director) Previous credits include If the Saints (Metro Baptist); Obedient Steel (HERE arts); I Run with You (Women's Center Stage); and site-specific work. She associate directed the world premiere of Lynn Nottage's Sweat (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage) and assisted Kate Whoriskey, Jerry Ruiz, and Lindsay Allbaugh. Rebecca is a resident director with HERO Theatre, previous associate artist at The Orchard Project, and is pursuing a PhD through a Chancellor's Fellowship at UC, Santa Barbara. She is currently directing Lauren Yee's Samsara with Coeurage Theatre Company, which runs May 11-June 1st.

The Goblin Market
By Eric Fagundes
Puppet Design by Mark Royston
Directed by Jessica Hanna
Reading On: June 2, 2019 at 7pm

Inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem of the same name, two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, try to follow a seemingly simple plan created by their employer, Monopolozon, that promises to lead them to happiness. But, temptation comes in many forms and the call of the Goblin market is too strong to resist.

Eric Fagundes (playwright) is an actor and writer who has survived Los Angeles for 18 years. As an ensemble member of Rogue Artists Ensemble, he loves nothing more than getting lost in the worlds they create. He currently performs in their educational show Frog Belly Rat Bone as Rabbit and appeared in Kaidan: Walls Grown Thin. He is always looking for new opportunities to create and collaborate.

Mark Royston (puppet designer) is an ensemble member of Rogue Artists Ensemble, a board member of the LA Guild of Puppetry, and an alumni of the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television. Mark is an Actor turned Puppeteer turned Puppet Builder turned Puppet Designer. Mark has been performing with The Rogues since 2015 and recently designed puppets for The Rogues' production of Se or Plummer's Final Fiesta. Instagram: @markroyston

A Special Rogue Lab Presentation of
By Taylor Coffman and Z. Lupetin
Performed by Taylor Coffman
Directed by Kitty Swink
Reading On: June 3, 2019 at 7pm

A woman awakes in a motel room without any idea of who she is or how she got there. Telling her strange story into an old camcorder, she begins to realize she isn't the runaway housewife she seems to be - but in fact a powerful member of a lost alien race that once lived on earth.

Taylor Coffman (playwright/performer) a transplant from Washington, DC, has been working in Los Angeles in film, TV, theatre, and public radio. Taylor has recurred on HBO's Silicon Valley directed by Mike Judge, CBS's Life in Pieces, and Rachel Dratch's Late Night Snack and appeared in Ryan Murphy's FEUD. She created the series Ruby & Martin (finalist in the NYTVF Comedy Central Pilot competition). As member of Rogue Artists Ensemble, Taylor has been nominated for an LA Weekly Award with the cast for D is for Dog. She was also a fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC, studied comedy at The Groundlings and in the advanced improv program at Upright Citizens Brigade, and received her BA in Theatre from George Mason University.

Z. Lupetin (playwright) is a Venice, CA-based bandleader, songwriter and playwright. His eight-piece roots-soul group Dustbowl Revival celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2018 and has played headlining festival stages across the USA, Canada and Europe. Z composed a new score to Shakespeare's 12th Night for The Old Globe Theater in San Diego for their youth theater summer program and is working on music for Rogue Artists Ensemble's Cowboy Elektra, currently in development. Z attended The University of Michigan where he won four Hopwood Awards for his plays The Surprise and Past Alaska which were produced in Ann Arbor, MI. In LA he wrote and directed new works Rubber/Necking, and Eskimo Brothers at The Little Theater, as well as The Night At Rodgers Cross which ran at The Hudson Theater in Hollywood. His play Sweet Tooth had a sold-out run at the New York International Fringe Festival, directed by Gina Rattan (Broadway's Billy Elliot ).
Details for Calendar Listings: Rogue Lab Reading Series WHAT: Award-winning artists' collective Rogue Artists Ensemble is thrilled to announce the Inaugural Rogue Lab Readings Series, a four-day event that includes readings of seven new works written, directed, and designed by emerging LA artists, as well as post-show discussions and receptions.

WHEN: May 31 June 3, 2019
Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 2pm and 7pm; Sunday at 12pm, 3pm, and 7pm;
Monday at 7pm.

WHERE: Plummer Park's Community Center, Room 5, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood.

HOW: (213) 596-9468 or or

TICKET PRICES: $5 suggested donation per reading or $25 Rogue Lab Pass which guarantees admission to all seven readings and a reception.

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