Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces O! Readings Series

The final lineup features writers and stories of remarkable diversity in background and style.

By: Jun. 26, 2021
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces O! Readings Series

Oregon Shakespeare Festival has announced the month-long, five-play O! Reading Series. For this new initiative, five directors who are part of OSF's artistic staff-Artistic Director Nataki Garrett, Associate Artistic Director Evren Odcikin, Festival Producer Donya K. Washington, Assistant Producer Derek Kolluri, and Artistic Associate Raphael Massie-have each chosen a play to be performed as a live digital staged reading by some of OSF's favorite actors. The final lineup features writers and stories of remarkable diversity in background and style, from an imaginative solo work featuring an 11-year-old wrestling with the American dream to a new play diving into the history and mythology of Shakespeare's oft-misunderstood heroine Margaret.

OSF Associate Artistic Director Evren Odcikin says of the new O! Reading Series program, "OSF is one of the few organizations in the American theater that has a deep commitment to expanding the theatrical canon by centering, championing, and curating specifically for directors-both as timely interpreters of classic texts and as key generators of new work. The five directors, who all have unique styles and backgrounds, are part of our brilliant artistic team and it has been a pleasure to curate this series in collaboration with them. This beautifully diverse lineup is proof that when artists are allowed to curate, what results is art-first, mission-driven, and brings forth a wealth of new voices, ideas, stories, and audiences."

The O! Staged Reading Series includes five plays by female and non-gender-binary writers: Steph Del Rosso, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Liliana Padilla, Tira Palmquist, and Caridad Svich. Creative staff for the O! Reading Series includes producers Heath Belden and Jaz Hall and casting director Joy Dickson. OSF has also partnered with Leanna Keyes and Kyra Bowers of Transcend Streaming.

The plays in the O! Reading Series stream for free on OSF's O! platform. These script-in-hand performances will be live and won't be available as video-on-demand after the scheduled performance. Registration is required for viewing and can be made here.


53% OF

By Steph Del Rosso

Directed by Nataki Garrett

Wednesday, June 30 at 5:30pm PDT

Approximate Running Time: 1:30 hours

In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn, New York, three groups of like-minded people try to find their place in the current political landscape. Separated by age, geography, class, culture, and values, each group believes their side has the answers to fixing a deeply divided nation. Inspired by the finding that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, 53% Of is a humorous, even-handed, and strikingly honest examination of Americans on both sides of the debate about what will truly make America great again.

Steph Del Rosso (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, a film and television writer, an educator, and an organizer. Her work has been produced or developed at Alliance Theatre, Studio Theatre, The Lark, Victory Gardens, LATC, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, IAMA, New York Stage and Film, The Flea, Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Kennedy Center, JACK, and others. She has been a writer-in-residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Caldera Arts, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Steph was the 19/20 Shank Playwriting Fellow at The Public Theater, a former Theater Masters Visionary Playwright, an alum of the Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab and Clubbed Thumb's Emerging Writers' Group, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She teaches playwriting at NYU. MFA: UC-San Diego.

Nataki Garrett (Director) has directed and produced the world premieres of many well-known and important playwriting voices of our time, including Katori Hall, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Dominique Morriseau, and Aziza Barnes. Her credits at OSF include directing Christina Anderson's How to Catch Creation and producing the world premiere of Karen Zacarias's The Copper Children. Prior to her appointment at OSF, Garrett served as the acting artistic director for Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company (DCPA). During her tenure, she produced a provocative Macbeth, which became the most successful production in the Space Theatre's 40-year history. She also initiated and negotiated the first co-world premieres in ten years for two DCPA-commissioned plays: The Great Leap, with Seattle Repertory Theatre, and American Mariachi, with The Old Globe. Additionally, she was former associate artistic director of CalArts Center for New Performance. Garrett is a recipient of the first-ever Ammerman Prize for Directing, given by Arena Stage. She also received the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Theatre Directors.


By Liliana Padilla

Directed by Derek Kolluri

Wednesday, July 7 at 5:30pm PDT

Approximate Running Time: 2:15 Hours

The support group for sex addicts meets every Monday in the little seaside town of Pescadero, California. But where is Dr. Jurgensen, the therapist who's supposed to lead the group? And is Dr. Jurgensen's earnest intern who's left to lead the group in over her head? When Matt shows up, any illusion of a "safe space" shatters and the group must confront difficult truths and unexpected points of connection in a comedy about addiction, identity, and sex. (w)holeness asks the question: "am I too damaged to be loved?"

Liliana Padilla (Playwright) makes plays about sex, intersectional communities, and what it means to heal in a violent world. Their play, How to Defend Yourself won the 2019 Yale Drama Prize and was a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist. It was produced in the 2019 Humana Festival and garnered acclaim at Victory Gardens in 2020, in a co-world premiere with Actors Theatre of Louisville. Padilla's work has been developed with OSF, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Victory Gardens, INTAR, Hedgebrook, Seattle Rep, the Playwrights' Center and San Diego REP. MFA, UC San Diego, BFA, NYU Tisch. Liliana is currently commissioned to make new plays with NNPN, Colt Coeur, and South Coast Rep. They are also a director, actor and community builder who looks at theatre as a laboratory for how we might be together.

Derek Kolluri (Director) is the Assistant Producer at OSF. At OSF, Kolluri has performed as Charles, Sir Oliver Martext, Follower, and Ensemble in As You Like It (selected performances), and was Associate Director on La Comedia of Errors, Artistic Associate on Mother Road, and FAIR Assistant Director on The Book of Will. Additional directing credits: Lungs (independent); Actually (independent); Cock, Violet Crown Series, Fat Pig, Austin is a Place, Just Outside Redemption, American Bear (Theatre en Bloc); Seller Door, Dead White Males (Sustainable Theatre Project); Dying City (Capital T Theatre). As an actor: Ensemble, Not Every Mountain (Rude Mechs, Off Center, Guthrie Theater); Biff/Willy in This Great Country (600 Highwaymen, Fusebox Festival, River to River Festival); Gary in Bethany, Developer in Austin is a Place, Jules in American Bear (Theatre en Bloc); The Barker in Seller Door, Jack in Jack + Jill (Sustainable Theatre Project); others. Also: Artistic Assistant, The Perelman Performing Arts Center; co-founder/ producer, Workhound; co-founder, Sustainable Theatre Project; co-founder/ former artistic director, Theatre en Bloc; guest director, Every 28 Hours (National Advisory Board, St. Louis).


By Tiraa??Palmquist
Directed by Donya K. Washington

Wednesday, July 14 at 5:30pm PDT
Approximate Running Time: 2:45 hours

We all think we know the story of Margaret through Shakespeare's history cycle. But was she really a "ruthless queen," a "she-wolf of France?" Tira Palmquist's King Margaret challenges that narrative and brings in the stories of the real Margaret, known for being quick, bright, capable and strong-willed-her only faults being that she was fifteen, and French, and female.

Tira Palmquist (Playwright) is known for plays that merge the personal, the political and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie, among others. Her play The Way North was a Finalist for the O'Neill, an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Kilroys List, and was featured in the 2019 Ashland New Plays Festival. Other plays include Ten Mile Lake, Age of Bees, And Then They Fell, This Floating World, The Worth of Water, Safe Harbor, Hold Steady, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, and The Last Time We Saw Madison.

Donya K. Washington (Director) is OSF's Festival Producer. At the organization, she has also served as Producing Assistant, Community; and has directed the Midnight Project Pearl Sings the Blues, by Vivia Font, and OSF Presents: Fill in the Blank, by Claudia Alick. Her directing credits also include, in Atlanta: Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck, An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Actor's Express); Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan, adapted by Theroun D'arcy Patterson with music by Eugene Russell III (Alliance Theatre, Theatre for the Very Young), and, in NYC: Eve's Song by Patricia Ione Lloyd (workshop, The Playwrights Realm); God, Man and Devil by Jacob Gordin (Target Margin Theatre); Pete the Girl by Charity Henson-Ballard (Rising Circle/Culture Project Women's Center Stage); Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws by Tennessee Williams (Target Margin Theatre); Jump Jim Crow by Jesse Cameron Alick, music and lyrics by Justin Levine (Subjective Theater Company); Cold Keener by Zora Neale Hurston (Target Margin Theatre). Her producing credits include BOLD Associate Producer and Off Site Season Producer, Alliance Theatre. Awards: 2008/2010 Women's Project Lab. Van Lier Directing Fellow 2009, Second Stage Theatre.


By Caridad Svich

Directed by Evren Odcikin

Performed in English and Spanish

Wednesday, July 21 at 5:30pm PDT

Approximate Running Time: 1:20 hours

What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now.In this solo work, Lifetime Achievement OBIE recipient Caridad Svich uplifts American vernacular to heights of poetry, and playfully and imaginatively challenges our preconceived notions of the American dream.

Caridad Svich (Playwright) has received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based Isabel Allende's novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the U.S. and abroad. Key works in her repertoire include 12 Ophelias, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart, The Booth Variations, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man's Blues, Any Place But Here, Archipelago, The Way of Water and JARMAN (all this maddening beauty). She has also adapted for the stage novels by Mario Vargas Llosa, Julia Alvarez and Jose Leon Sanchez, and has radically reconfigured works from Wedekind, Euripides, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. Her plays have been directed by Annie Castledine, Maria Irene Fornes, Lisa Peterson, Neel Keller, William Carden, Nick Philippou, Annie Dorsen, Katie Pearl, Stephen Wrentmore, Daniella Topol, and Jose Zayas, among many others. She is the founder of theatre alliance and press NoPassport; co-organizer and curator of After Orlando theatre action in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting; and Climate Change Theatre Action with The Arctic Cycle and Theatre Without Borders. Svich sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca as well as works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope De Vega, Julio Cortazar, Victor Rascon Banda, Antonio Buero Vallejo and contemporary works from Mexico, Cuba and Spain.

Evren Odcikin (Director) is a theater director, writer, and arts administrator with a deep commitment to bringing underrepresented stories and voices to the American stage. He serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and is a founding member of the MENA Theater Maker Alliance steering committee, a founder of Maia Directors, and a resident artist at Golden Thread Productions. A celebrated new plays director, he has worked at NYTW, Geva, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, The Lark, Kennedy Center, InterAct (Philadelphia), Cleveland Public Theatre, Magic Theatre, Golden Thread, and Crowded Fire with such writers as Melis Aker, Kevin Artigue, Guillermo Calderón, Christopher Chen, Jeesun Choi, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Yussef El Guindi, Prince Gomolvilas, MJ Kaufman, Hannah Khalil, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Michael Lew, Mona Mansour, Rehana Lew Mirza, Baruch Porras Hernandez, Betty Shamieh, Caridad Svich, and Lauren Yee, amongst many others. As a writer, he is under commission with Leila Buck to create 1001 Nights (A Retelling) for Cal Shakes and his translation of Sedef Ecer's On the Periphery premiered at Golden Thread and Crowded Fire in 2020. Recognitions include a 2016 "Theatre Worker You Should Know" feature in American Theatre Magazine; a 2015 National Director's Fellowship from the O'Neill, NNPN, the Kennedy Center, and SDCF; and a 2013 TITAN Award from Theatre Bay Area. Evren was born and raised in Turkey and is a graduate of Princeton University.


By Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

Directed by Raphael Massie

Wednesday, July 28 at 5:30pm PDT

Approximate Running Time: 2:45 hours

Four hundred years ago, Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasn't. Could she have been the 'Dark Lady' of Shakespeare's sonnets? What of her own poetry? Why was her story erased from history? Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's playful play brings an unapologetically feminist take on Shakespeare's legacy.

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Playwright) is a playwright and screenwriter. Her play Emilia (Shakespeare's Globe, 2018) transferred to the West End the following year. Her play Belongings premiered at the Hampstead Theatre and Trafalgar Studios (2011) and was shortlisted for the Charles Wintour Most Promising Playwright Award and her play The Wasp at Hampstead Theatre also transferred to Trafalgar Studios in 2015. In 2013 she was chosen as a member of the Soho Six (Soho Theatre). She has co-written several acclaimed immersive site-specific plays with Katie Lyons, produced by Look Left Look Right, including You Once Said Yes, Above and Beyond and Once Upon a Christmas. She was part of the writing team for four of the Lyric Hammersmith's pantomimes from 2009-2012 and wrote (solo) the Bolton Octagon's Christmas plays for 2013 and 2014. She has written two large community plays for the Old Vic New Voices: Platform and Epidemic.

Raphael Massie (Director) is an Artistic Associate at OSF. He served as Associate Dramaturg on black odyssey, as Assistant Director on How to Catch Creation, and was a 2019 OSF Killian Directing Fellowship Finalist and a 2013 Drama League of New York Classical Directing Fellow. Massie's regional directing credits include Elm Shakespeare Company: Romeo and Juliet (director); Shakespeare and Company: Cymbeline (associate director), The Merchant of Venice (associate director), Romeo and Juliet (director, Fall Festival of Shakespeare), Mother Courage and Her Children (assistant director); Collective Consciousness Theatre: Detroit '67 (director); Bregamos: Mommas Boyz (director). In England: Northcott Theatre: Twisted Virtue (director); Exeter Fringe: Titus Andronicus (director); Elysium Theatre Company: Henriad/War of the Roses (assistant director, various); Southern Connecticut State University: Lysistrata (director), Stop Kiss (director), Polaroid Stories (director), Julius Caesar (director). As an actor, he has played Gregory/Peter in Romeo and Juliet (Hartford Stage); Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Simonedes/Cerimon in Pericles, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, Horatio in Hamlet, Ivan in Art, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing (Elm Shakespeare Company); Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Kent in King Lear (ArtFarm).

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