Playwrights Foundation Announces the 11th Annual Rough Readings Series

Playwrights Foundation (PF) is pleased to announce the line-up of playwrights for the 2016-2017 Rough Readings Series in partnership with the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University, now in its 11th year. Beginning October 24th and 25th with workshop early draft readings of ALL FALL DOWN by Lisa Ramirez (PF Resident Playwright), the series continues monthly December 2016 through May 2017 with seven exceptional new works that are pushing into new theatrical territory, challenging assumptions, and presenting deeply felt dilemmas within our culture and world society.

The playwrights include PF Resident Playwrights Jon Berson and Lisa Ramirez; other playwrights confirmed at press time are Trina Davies, Novid Parsi, and Carlos Murillo. The final two plays of the series will be announced in January. Readings take place Mondays at Roble Hall, Stanford University, 374 Santa Teresa St, Stanford at 7:30pm, and Tuesdays at Custom Made Theatre, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco in the afternoon, at 2pM. Rough Readings are open to the public and always PAY WHAT YOU CAN. RSVP to For a complete ongoing schedule go to

Produced in partnership with the National Center for New Plays at Stanford, a producing partner of the National New Play Network, the Rough Reading Series offers groundbreaking, rising national and local playwrights the rare opportunity to incubate early drafts, which are then performed script-in-hand by some of the Bay Area's top tier professional actors, to accelerate their development, and shine a light on their value, as well as helping to foster a thriving relationship between Stanford University and the greater Bay Area theater community. The series provides theatergoers and professionals alike an intimate opportunity to experience and participate in the early development of a new work, and engage with the playwright. And, importantly, it has positioned uncommon new works to enter the American canon: over the past 10 seasons Playwrights Foundation has launched at least 50 plays from inception to to world premiere productions - recently Lauren Yee's King of the Yees, which is set to premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles this season, and Dominique Morisseau's Sunset Baby which premiered off-Broadway, and in Chicago in 2016.

Playwrights Foundation Artistic Director Amy Mueller remarks, "Playwrights, like all artists, need to feel support for their creative process, and experiment in real time with the live elements that go into play-making in order to realize the potential of their work. This series is an important creative space for writers to dig deep into structure and form, and experiment with new insights outside of the pressures that come from a production, and for audiences, a close-up intimate experience with a new work."


ALL FALL DOWN by Lisa Ramirez, PF Resident Playwright

Monday, October 24 2016 at 7:30PM - Stanford

Tuesday, October 25 2016 at 2:00PM - Custom Made

On the day of Bobby's funeral, in the now abandoned house where they all grew up, Jackie and Grace engage in an emotional, high stakes struggle to dominate each other's opposing version of the events that lead to their brother's untimely and tragic death. Amidst the many voices of the Chorus of the Past and Ghosts of the Present - all hovering within the house - the sisters are overtaken by unfathomable memories about their powerful absent father, profoundly talented younger brother, and the family's legacy of addiction and confused cultural identity - bringing them full circle.

THE BONE BRIDGE by Trina Davies

Monday, December 5 2016 at 7:30PM - Stanford

Tuesday, December 6 2016 at 2:00PM - Custom Made

Beginning in an apartment in the former Yugoslavia, and ending in a suburban kitchen in North America, The Bone Bridge spirals in and around individual people working to rebuild their lives after a deeply traumatic war. A woman visits her occupied former home in Serbia and is served tea in her grandmother's china - while on another continent, a former war criminal is recognized in a suburban grocery store. And just who is that shadowed figure on the bridge at dawn? When the unimaginable has been made real, when home and country are lost, and neighbor has turned on neighbor, it is humanly possible to recover?

TBA by Jon Berson, PF Resident Playwright

Monday, January 23 2017 at 7:30PM - Stanford

Tuesday, January 24 2017 at 2:00PM - Custom Made

Jon's still deciding on his entry for the series, but rest assured that it will incorporate his signature multi-disciplinary approach as a composer, playwright, and sound sculptor.

OUR MOTHER'S MEAL by Novid Parsi - in partnership with Golden Thread Productions

Monday, February 27 2017 at 7:30PM - Stanford

Tuesday, February 28 2017 at 2:00PM - Custom Made

What's an Iranian mom in East Texas to do? Throughout one long day, while she indefatigably cooks and cooks, her three children traipse back to the family home with their very American attitudes, expectations and conflicts-all foreign to her cultural sensibilities. As the day progresses, she must reckon with an escalating crisis that threatens the foundation of their lives. Straight out of a classical American dramatic genre, Our Mother's Meal retells the American story through a Middle Eastern lens, and in so doing redefines what America truly is.


Monday, March 13 2017 at 7:30PM - Stanford

Tuesday, March 14 2017 at 2:30PM - Custom Made

IN 1994, the world was shocked when International soccer star Andres Escobar was gunned down in Medellin, Colombia following his disastrous own goal at the FIFA World Cup USA. In 2015, Martin, an ambivalent teaching artist in Chicago is hired to create a play about violence in Chicago with youth from the violence plagued neighborhoods of the city. Caught between his boss' desire for a docudrama and his own belief in metaphor, Martin unearths the Escobar story from the past to tell a city's story in the present. Tragedy ensues.


Lisa Ramirez is originally from the Bay Area and lived in New York for 15 years before returning home this Fall. Lisa's first play, Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland) was first presented Off Broadway in 2009 by the Working Theater (Colman Domingo-director) and subsequently toured in various theaters throughout the U.S. and Ireland. Other writing credits include: Art of Memory, a dance theatre piece commissioned by Company SoGoNo, and presented at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and the 3-Legged Dog in New York, (directed by Tanya Calamoneri); Invisible Women-Rise, a collaboration with the Foundry Theatre and Domestic Workers United; and To The Bone, a finalist for the Smith Prize and originally a Working Theater commission, which premiered at Cherry Lane Theatre (Angelina Fiordellisi- Artistic Director) in 2014, with Lisa Peterson directing. Her play All Fall Down was conceived at INTAR during the Maria Irene Fornés Hispanic Playwrights in Residency Lab. In 2013, Lisa was a playwright at the Cherry Lane Theatre's MENTOR PROJECT 15 where she wrote and performed Pas de Deux (lost my shoe) as well as completing several other plays (including To The Bone).

Also a veteran professional actress, Lisa has performed in the Bay Area at The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, Actor's Theatre, and Intersection for the Arts, where she received 3 Bay Area Critics Circle Awards and a Dramalogue Award for her work, and Ubuntu Theater. In New York, Lisa has performed at HERE Arts Center, the Cherry Lane Theatre, The Clurman Theater, 3-Legged Dog, INTAR, the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, and Dixon Place. In 2015 Lisa played the title role in Medea (written and directed by Bryan Davidson-Blue) at the Be Electric Studios in Brooklyn, and performed in The Idea of Me (written by Kristina Poe, Jose Zayas-director) at the Cherry Lane. In addition to acting and playwriting, Lisa was the Literary Director for Brava for Women in the Arts, and most recently received the 2015 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. She is a company member of Ubuntu Theater in Oakland, and a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation.

TRINA DAVIES is a playwright based in Vancouver Canada. Her award-winning plays include Multi User Dungeon, Shatter, The Auction and Waxworks. Her last published play The Romeo Initiative was a finalist for Canada's top literary prize, the Governor General's Award for Dramatic Literature, and won the National Enbridge Award for Established Artist. Her plays have been performed across Canada and in a number of other countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, and India. Her work has been translated into Italian and German. Shatter premiered Off-Broadway in 2014 to audience and critical acclaim.

She has participated in artist residencies at the Stratford Festival, the Banff International Centre for the Arts, the Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Citadel Playwright's Forum, and the Bella Vita Playwrights Retreat in Tuscany, Italy. Trina is a member of the Alberta Playwrights Network, the Playwrights Theatre Centre and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

She is currently working on a commission entitled Silence: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell, a love story exploring what constitutes real communication, for Theatre Calgary.

JON BERNSON is a San Francisco musician, multimedia artist and interdisciplinary playwright who has released more than twenty albums under the following names: Ray's Vast Basement, Window Twins, THEMAYS, and Exray's (whose music was featured in David Fincher's Academy-Award winning film, The Social Network). He has toured the U.S. numerous times and scored more than a dozen plays and films, including his recent soundtracks for Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, Alicia's Miracle by Octavio Solis and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

In 2013, he wrote the play, A Guide to the Aftermath for StoryWorks, an innovative partnership between the Center for Investigative Reporting and Tides Theatre that explores the intersection of theater and journalism. Beautification Machine, his sound sculpture collaboration with Andy Diaz Hope, opened at the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco this past summer, was presented by Miami Projects 2014 and then acquired by the Nevada Museum of Art. His most recent sound installation at the Sonos Studio in Los Angeles is the result of an unlikely collaboration between the Oakland band tUnE-yArDs, Berlin-based video artist Jem the Misfit and a group of architects and designers from P-a-t-t-e-r-n-s.

Bernson is a former Artist-in-Residence at the de Young museum in San Francisco and a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation Initiative, a four-year residency. He is a columnist at Decoder Magazine, co-founder of the Howells Transmitter record label and resident composer at Tides Theatre. Bernson also founded Sunset Media Wave and the Urban Music Program at the Sunset Beacon Center, where he has taught electronic music, writing and multimedia art to youth for fifteen years.

NOVID PARSI is an Iranian-American writer whose plays have received productions and staged readings in the United States and the United Kingdom by companies including Golden Thread, The New Group, Paines Plough and the Young Vic, among others. He has been a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Novib was born in New York City, grew up in East Texas, and studied literature at Swarthmore College and Duke University. He lives with his husband in Chicago.

CARLOS MURILLO is a Chicago-based, internationally produced and award winning playwright of Colombian and Puerto Rican descent. He is a recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award for his work in the theatre. He also received a 2016 Mellon Foundation Playwright Residency at Adventure Stage in Chicago. His body of work has been widely produced throughout the United States and Europe. His best known play Dark Play or Stories for Boys premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and has been performed throughout the US, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania. Other work has been seen in New York at Repertorio Español, P73, the NYC Summer Playwrights Festival, En Garde Arts, The Public Theater New Work Now! Festival, and Soho Rep, in Chicago at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Collaboraction, Walkabout Theatre, Adventure Stage and Theatre Seven, and in Los Angeles at Theatre @ Boston Court, Circle X and Son of Semele. His plays have been commissioned by The Goodman, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf and Adventure Stage and developed by The Sundance Theatre Lab, The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New Dramatists and others. From 1993 to 1995, Carlos served as the Associate Literary Manager at The Public Theater in New York. Carlos heads the BFA Playwriting Program at The Theatre School of DePaul University, and is a proud alumnus of New Dramatists.


Founded in 1976, Playwrights Foundation is today widely recognized as one of the top playwright development centers in the U.S., and the largest and most comprehensive on the West Coast. We are dedicated to the creative development and career acceleration of contemporary playwrights. We serve emerging and mid-career playwrights, with a special focus on those based in San Francisco Bay Area.

We seek to identify exceptional writers and give them space, time and professional artistic collaborators to explore new theatrical ideas, allowing them to experiment and take risks with structure, form and/or content in an environment that is free from the pressures of the marketplace. Playwrights we have worked with have won every award in the theater including the Pulitzer, the Obie, the National Critics Circle Award, and many more. Over 80% see their work fully produced on regional, national and international stages, including Broadway and London.

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