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20th Annual PlayGround Festival Announces 'Best of PlayGround' An Evening of Six Short Plays Starting in June

Pick a night, Thursday through Sunday, June 2 through 19, and you'll get to see all six of this year's "Best of PlayGround" - 6 short plays by some of the Bay Area's top new writers, staged by 6 different leading directors. All are chosen from PlayGround's 2015-16 Monday Night Series that included over 180 different submissions.

In addition to the "Best of" short plays, the six-week annual PlayGround Festival features two full-length, fully-staged new works as well as staged readings of four bold new works in development by local up-and-comers. All shows are performed at Thick House, 1695 18th Street (off Arkansas Street) in San Francisco.

The 2016 Best of PlayGround selected plays and playwrights are:

The River God by Madeleine Butler, directed by Jeffrey Lo

I'm Really Sorry About This by Patricia Cotter, directed by Tracy Ward

Ophy's Apothecary by Karen Macklin, directed by Reena Dutt

Digging Ditches in Fresno by Isaac Ontiveros, directed by Steven Anthony Jones

Boys Beware by Kirk Shimano, directed by Katja Rivera

The Lunatics by Josh Williams, directed by Jim Kleinmann

About the Plays

The River God by Madeleine Butler

A drought-inspired post-apocalyptic parable on the power of love... and running water!

I'm Really Sorry About This by Patricia Cotter

An examination of artificial intelligence, the nature of reality and the role of SIRI. Can I help you?

Ophy's Apothecary by Karen Macklin

A young woman, struggling with a clinically-depressed boyfriend and micro-managing father, gets career counseling from life coach Anna K, with a chance to transform her destiny and those of her real-life "cast mates"!

Digging Ditches in Fresno by Isaac Ontiveros

A haunting play of two generations of Latina women in Fresno, struggling with life, death, union organizing and overtime, while learning to cherish the only thing that matters, the precious time we have with those we love.

Boys Beware by Kirk Shimano

A tongue-in-cheek but poignant look back at 1969, the aftermath of the Stonewall riots, and the birth of the gay pride movement.

The Lunatics by Josh Williams

A behind-the-scenes look at the government's failsafe against a failed moon landing and the movie by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick no one would ever get to see.

MADELEINE BUTLER just completed her third season with PlayGround. Her produced short plays include A Beautiful Evening and The River God (Monday Night PlayGround), as well as The Box and A Comfortable Life (PCSF Sheherezade Festivals). She's currently at work on a full-length play, along with other creative writing projects.

Patricia Cotter is an Emmy Award winning, Groundling Theater Alum. Plays: The Rules of Comedy Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival (Heideman Award finalist); The Surrogate; 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) Musicals: The Break Up Notebook; and Ladykillers. Patricia was the receipt of June Ann Baker Prize 2014.

KAREN MACKLIN's plays have been staged in readings and productions in SF, NYC, & Seattle with companies such as Actors Theater SF, Playground, SF Playhouse, and Nylon Theatre. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been a finalist for the Kennedy Center ACTF, Humana Festival, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Isaac Ontiveros was born in Santa Maria, California and has lived and worked in Oakland for most of his adult life. As a member of Critical Resistance, Isaac is involved in grassroots efforts to stop the violence of policing and imprisonment. He is a life-long artist, has written and co-authored many articles, and currently works as trade union researcher.

KIRK SHIMANO is returning for his third Best of PlayGround. His work has been presented by PianoFight, Wily West Productions, and the San Francisco Olympians. His "Portal: The Musical" will be performed at San Francisco Theater Pub in July and his "Princess and the Porn Star" is currently in development as part of the Custom Made Theater Company's Undiscovered Works series.

Joshua Williams is a writer, director, translator and graduate student at U.C. Berkeley. His plays have been developed or produced at U.C. Berkeley, C.U. Boulder, Princeton University, SUNY Buffalo, Capital Fringe Festival, Theatre Intime, New York Musical Theatre Festival, CAP 21, Ars Nova's ANT Fest and PlayGround San Francisco.

In addition, the second week of "Best of" will include special curtain-raisers by PlayGround's Young Playwrights Project - the top short work of students from Bay Area high schools, inspired by the prompt "Mistaken Identity."

"Best of PlayGround" Performance Schedule:

Thursday, Jun 2, 8pm

Friday, June 3, 8pm (Press Night)

Saturday, June 4, 8pm

Sunday, June 5, 7pm

Thursday, Jun 9, 8pm (including Young Playwrights Project curtain raiser)

Friday, June 10, 8pm (including Young Playwrights Project curtain raiser)

Saturday, June 11, 8pm (including Young Playwrights Project curtain raiser)

Sunday, June 12, 7pm (including Young Playwrights Project curtain raiser)

Thursday, Jun 16, 8pm

Friday, June 17, 8pm

Saturday, June 18, 8pm (June Anne Baker Prize Night)

Sunday, June 19, 7pm

Tickets for "Best of Playground": $25-$45 / All-Festival Passes start at $80. Go to

Venue: Thick House, 1695 18th Street (off Arkansas Street), San Francisco

All festival staged readings are free and open to the public (suggested donation at the door). All-Festival Passes, which include reserved seating for all festival events, start at just $80. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit

PlayGround, the Bay Area's leading playwright incubator and theatre community hub, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area's best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund.

To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 750 original short plays and 61 new full-length plays, with 6 new commissions currently in development. For more information, visit

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