Magic Theatre Presents the 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series

Magic Theatre Presents the 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series

Magic Theatre is proud to present the 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series, a free event, in collaboration with the American Conservatory Theatre's Costume Shop and the Commonwealth Club of California.

The Virgin Play Series takes place over the course of five weeks and presents a different and exciting new play to the public each week. This year, in honor of Magic's 'March to 50' and in celebration of 'Sheparding America', we will be including special readings of plays by 2 distinguished Magic playwrights from the past: Jessica Hagedorn and our original playwright in residence, Sam Shepard. The two legacy readings will be featured alongside a new play by celebrated Magic alum John Kolvenbach and 2 new works by emerging writers, Kimber Lee and Mfoniso Udofia. 2014 will mark our second year of partnership with A.C.T.'s Costume Shop and the fourth year of our relationship with the Commonwealth Club of California.

At Magic Theatre, our focus is on breathing life into new work with the playwright by our side and with the audience as accomplice. The Virgin Play Series engages audiences with new plays that speak to contemporary issues with originality and wit, urgency and adventure, in an intimate, professional setting. Hear these plays before they arrive on the stage and see the new play development process up close. Each reading is followed by a post-show discussion with the playwright, director, and members of the cast.

We are proud to announce the extraordinary line-up of the 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series:

Monday, May 12th 7pm @ A.C.T.'s Costume Shop
SISTER PLAY by John Kolvenbach

Brenda will do anything to make her sister Lilly happy, including destroying all her relationships. When Lilly, Brenda, and Brenda's husband Malcom retreat to their late father's cabin in Cape Cod, they expect to relax, unwind, and take stock. But when a charming but shadowy drifter enters the picture angling for Lilly's heart, their pilgrimage takes a surprising turn.

Magic is thrilled to welcome back John Kolvenbach, whose plays Goldfish and Mrs. Whitney found their home in Producing Artist Director Loretta Greco's second season at Magic. Mrs. Whitney premiered at Magic with Kolvenbach himself directing, a role he will reprise with this latest piece to be featured in the festival.

Monday, May 19th 7pm @ A.C.T.'s Costume Shop
A LIE OF THE MIND by Sam Shepard

Told in three acts set in the gritty American West, A Lie of the Mind tells the story of two families after a severe incident of spousal abuse leaves all their lives altered. The two families are connected by the marriage of Jake and Beth; Beth's beating and subsequent hospitalization at the hands of Jake initiates the beginning of the play. Exploring family dysfunction and the nature of love, the play follows Jake as he searches for meaning and Beth's family as they struggle with Beth's brain damage, until the final collision at an isolated cabin.

We are so happy to be working on another Shepard masterpiece, in a reading that, following the 2010 Broadway revival, will feature the revised draft that resulted from Sam Shepard and Ethan Hawk's vibrant collaboration.

Monday, June 2nd 7pm @ A.C.T.'s Costume Shop
DOGEATERS by Jessica Hagedorn

Dogeaters is an epic satirical soap opera with a corrosive current of rage, set in Marcos-era Philippines. The play depicts a society riven with tensions of race, class, sexuality, and politics via the perspectives of two characters at the extremes of Manila society -- Rio Gonzaga, the mestiza daughter of wealthy, privileged parents and Joey Sands, a street-wise hustler born of a black U.S. GI and Filipino mother. The plot shuttles between 1959, as thirteen-year-old Rio experiences her parents' tumultuous separation, and 1982, the year when Joey becomes an unwitting witness to the assassination of a political opposition leader.

Playwright Jessica Hagedorn is nationally renowned for giving voice to the Filipino experience through her award-winning novels and plays. We are so pleased to be reviving one of her most influential works in collaboration with her longtime friend and colleague, Magic's own Loretta Greco.

Monday, June 9th 7pm @ A.C.T.'s Costume Shop
A NEW PLAY by Kimber Lee

"A neighborhood on the outer edge of a large city, a place you pass through in a cab on your way to the airport. On a block in this neighborhood, there is a bodega. A wooden sign above the front door has painted Mexican and Korean flags on either side and says "SONG'S MEXICAN DELI MART." An older woman sits on the small front steps, wearing a dark wool dress in the dusky midsummer heat. Her dark hair is shot through with silver and wrapped into a tight bun. A silver brooch is pinned to her collar - a slim branch with a small bird perched on it. Her name is Minny. And for Minny, everything is about to change."
Kimber Lee will be joining us with a new piece that is still in progress, and we couldn't be more excited about welcoming this brilliant new talent into the Magic family. Kimber will be developing her play over the course of the workshop weekend, drawing on inspiration from performers and audiences alike. Kimber is a prime example of Magic's commitment to playwrights, from the seedlings of their ideas to the full realization of their visions.
Monday, June 16th 6pm @ Commonwealth Club
SOJOURNERS by Mfoniso Udofia

Abasiama Ekpeyoung came to America with high hopes for her arranged marriage and her future, intent on earning a degree and returning to Nigeria. But when her husband is seduced by America, she is forced to choose between the Nigerian or the American dream.

Mfoniso is a Nigerian storyteller and performer whom we are honored to host at Magic for the very first time at this year's festival. Sojourners is one of four installations in the Ufot Family Cycle plays and we are thrilled to share her wild creativity and heartfelt storytelling with Magic audiences.

Reading Locations

A.C.T.'s Costume Shop
1119 Market Street (at 7th avenue)
Directly across the street from Civic Center, Civic Center BART Station on the corner

Commonwealth Club of California
595 Market Street (between 1st and 2nd avenues)
Montgomery BART station on the corner

Free and open to the public!

For more information go online to


Now in its 47th year, Magic Theatre is dedicated to the cultivation of bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences and to producing explosive, entertaining, and ideologically robust stories that ask substantive questions about our place in the world. Magic provides a nurturing yet rigorous artistic home where innovative writers can create a body of work. We believe that developing an evolved artistic vocabulary with the playwright by our side, over a long period of time, greatly improves a playwright's chances to thrive.

The list of playwrights cultivated and premiered at Magic Theatre is a veritable who's who of American theatre: Sam Shepard, Michael McClure, Octavio Solis, Nilo Cruz, Paula Vogel, Rebecca Gilman, Lloyd Suh, Taylor Mac, Theresa Rebeck, Sharr White, and Luis Alfaro, to name a few.

With its intimate thrust stage, Magic is the perfect venue for audiences to experience new work up close. This intimacy extends beyond the stage through a number of special events -TalkBACKs, Magic NextGen, free High School matinees, New Work Development Dialogues with playwrights and directors, and the Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series. Enjoy unparalleled access to new plays, playwrights, and the process of taking a play from the page to the stage at Magic Theatre.

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