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Playwrights Announced For The 2022 Bill And Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission

The 2022 artists include MFA Playwrights Preston Choi and Ankita Raturi as well as established playwright Herbert Siquenza.

Playwrights Announced For The 2022 Bill And Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission

Cygnet Theatre announces its return to in-person readings for The Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission in 2022. In partnership with the UCSD MFA Playwriting Program, the commission supports Cygnet's commitment to new theatrical works, written by groundbreaking local playwrights as well as nationally recognized playwrights.

The 2022 artists include MFA Playwrights Preston Choi and Ankita Raturi as well as established playwright Herbert Siquenza. Free public readings of all three plays will take place Oct. 29 and 30, 2022 at Cygnet Theatre.

Director Rob Lutfy, who is spearheading the commission, says "I am thrilled that the festival is back in-person after going virtual during the shutdown. Cygnet brings in playwrights to work with local artists in full-length, script-in-hand staged readings. These readings give the playwright the opportunity to develop the play and give Cygnet Theatre exposure to potential new collaborators for their main stage programming." He continues, "The Finish Line is in its sixth year and has seen many of its commissions go on to world premieres. Two past commissions will receive their world premiere in 2023 at Cygnet Theatre; Sharon by Keiko Green and The Little Fellow (or The Queen of Tarts Tells All) by Kate Hamill."

Launched in 2020, the UCSD MFA Playwriting Program partnership features a new class each year, comprised of one to two playwrights, who will be given a commission to participate. Playwrights awarded The Finish Line Commission will be given a week-long workshop culminating in a public reading, a financial reward, and an assurance that the play will have an opportunity for a world premiere production at Cygnet. The UCSD MFA playwrights will be paired with a nationally recognized playwright each year, who will also be awarded a commission.

Naomi Iizuka, Head of UCSD's MFA Playwriting Program says, "We're so excited to continue our partnership with Cygnet Theatre on this commissioning initiative. It's very forward-thinking of Cygnet to commission our wonderful MFA playwrights at the outset of their time in San Diego. These commissions will create a unique opportunity for Cygnet to build ongoing relationships with our MFA playwrights, and it will allow our playwrights to build an ongoing relationship with the local theatre community."

The Finish Line Commission is made possible thanks to the contribution of long-time donors Bill and Judy Garrett. "We happily support the nurturing of new playwrights who are exploring provocative, entertaining, contemporary stories and topics to add to the vast lexicon of theatrical works currently available to performers and audiences. We're delighted to be able to help create new works for today's world," explained Judy Garrett.

The Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission provides:

  • Financial support to the playwright, actors, and director.
  • A Finish Line Commission grant for a local playwright and right of first refusal.
  • Rehearsal space.
  • Public in-person readings of all plays.
  • A series of public talk-backs and playwright reception.
  • Housing, round-trip travel and a vehicle for the week-long stay, when appropriate.

The readings and surrounding events are FREE to the public. Seats may be reserved in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street in San Diego Old Town Historic State Park, by calling 619-337-1525 or online at



By Preston Choi

Reading: October 29th at 2:00 PM

On the ninth floor of a nondescript building there's a gaping hole in the wall oozing a dark liquid, with what sounds like crying coming from deep inside. But it's not your job to pay attention to that, that's Pat's job. A Kafkaesque dark office comedy on the bureaucracy, inevitability, and mental fatigue of suffering.


Preston Choi is a playwright whose work focuses on Asian-American/mixed/queer lives, social science fiction, and the horrors of being alive. His plays have recently been developed with B Street Theatre, Interact Theatre, The Passage Theatre, and Silk Road Rising. His plays include Happy Birthday Mars Rover (2022 Planet Earth Arts Award, 2022 Darrell Ayers Award), performing class (2022 NNPN New Play Showcase, 20-21 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series), A Great Migration (2021 Paul Stephen Lim Award, 2019 NNPN National New Play Showcase, 2017 Agnes Nixon Award). 2nd year Playwriting MFA candidate at UCSD, B.S. in Theatre from Northwestern University.


By Herbert Siguenza

Reading: October 29th at 7:00 PM

Playwright Herbert Siguenza is back with a sci-fi fantasy told in the key of funk. It's 1992 and the prolific writer Isaac Asimov and the "Father of Science Fiction" is ill. He is putting his legacy in order when he receives a surprise visit from two intergalactic travelers to help him re-envision an unpublished science fiction story that was once censored and destroyed. PFunk-a former resident of Earth-and his protégé, Anita, have traveled back to have Isaac rewrite and publish a bestseller that will acknowledge the existence of PFunk, the acceptance of Afrofuturism and the saving of a race on a dying planet! Grand Master Funk is an intergalactic comedy, which turns Siguenza's Culture Clash-style hilarity into a mash-up of imagination, robotics, race, publishing, space travel and global warming...all fueled by an infectious '70's Funk soundtrack!


Herbert Siguenza is a founding member of Culture Clash, the California based Chicano performance group. Since 1984, Culture Clash has performed their original plays in the nation's top regional theatres including the Mark Taper Forum, The Huntington Stage, Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, Alley Theatre, Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center. He was the Playwright in Residence at the San Diego Repertory Theatre through the Andrew W. Mellon National Playwright Residency Program from 2016-2022. Herbert's plays include A Weekend with Pablo Picasso,El Henry, Manifest Destinitis, and Bad Hombres/Good Wives. Film credits include Larry Crowne directed by Tom Hanks and his voice was prominently featured in Pixar's Oscar winning animation feature, "Coco".


By Ankita Raturi

Reading: October 30th at 2:00 PM

16-year-olds Citra and Melati are nationally ranked badminton players determined to go pro - and represent Indonesia on the global stage. But when Citra's family immigrates to America, she learns that she has other wants outside of her and Melati's badminton dreams. And while Melati is on the path to achieve everything they wanted, she has never felt more alone. No One Plays Badminton in America asks us: Is making your country proud worth hardly ever seeing your family? Is the pursuit of a dream worth losing your culture?


Ankita Raturi (she/her) is a bisexual, bicultural, bilingual writer currently living in southern California. She grew up in and around New Delhi, Jakarta, and Washington D.C., and has spent many years living and working in New York City. Ankita writes in Hindi/Urdu and English about the impossibilities of language, living between cultural identities, and the ongoing legacies of colonialism. Her plays are often populated with queer characters navigating new and unfamiliar territory. Her audio play, Backwaters, is available to listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as part of the 2021 Wagner New Play Festival. Commissions: Artists at Play & Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, E.S.T/Sloan, Cygnet Finish Line. New play development: UCSD, NYU, Artist at Play, The COOP, Atlantic Pacific Theatre, Theater Masters, Hypokrit Theatre Company, New York Shakespeare Exchange, Pete's Candy Store, Natyabharati. Devised work with Charlotte Murray: Fresh Ground Pepper, Corkscrew Theater Festival, Dixon Place. B.F.A. in Drama: NYU/Tisch. M.F.A. Candidate in Playwriting: UCSD (Friends of the International Center Endowed Fellowship Recipient).

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