UCSB Theater/Dance Announces Launch Pad Summer Reading Series

UCSB Theater/Dance Announces Launch Pad Summer Reading Series

UCSB's LAUNCH PAD program was featured in the March 2013 issue of American Theatre magazine as an innovative model of new play development in the US. While professional theatres are not always able to take a risk on producing new work, the university offers a playwright the chance to see the play produced in a safe environment with students who are deeply engaged and hungry to learn how this process works. Since its inception in 2005, the department has developed and produced 9 plays with the playwright in residence.

Summer 2014 marks LAUNCH PAD's inaugural summer reading series!

LAUNCH PAD: New Plays in Process invites three professional playwrights to join the UCSB community as artists in residence in a summer course. The collaboration between LAUNCH PAD Artistic Director Risa Brainin, a team of undergraduate designers, actors, stage managers, dramaturgs and directors and the playwrights culminates in open rehearsals or public readings on Thursday evenings.

June 26-7pm-Open Rehearsal of Barbara Lebow's Gun Play

July 3-7pm-Public Reading & audience Q&A of Jami Brandli's ¡Soldadera!

July 10-7pm-Public Reading & audience Q&A of Deborah Brevoort's The Velvet Weapon

All rehearsals and public readings take place in Theater/Dance West, Room 1507 on the UCSB campus. Admission is free. http://www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu/

Barbara Lebow's Gun Play

In Gun Play three generations of an American family experience the tragedy of a mass shooting. In Lebow's research for this play, she spent time at an out-patient facility in Santa Barbara that supports people with traumatic brain-injury, meditated on the life and work of Gabby Giffords, and investigated the possibilities for theater to connect with different experiences of perception, language and emotion. The play takes a journey with the character of the mother, as she moves toward healing and acceptance of loss. Lebow writes, "I want to see how her new world appears...how she receives, interprets, and grows to understand and feel some of what she has lost and tries to regain. Not only will we observe her from the outside, but see, through her eyes and ears and altered comprehension. We will be in there with her."

Barbara Lebow was playwright in residence at the Academy Theatre in Atlanta which produced many of her plays including A Shayna Maidel, The Left Hand Singing, Cyparis, The Keepers, The Adventures of Homer McGundy Revised, Little Joe Monaghan, and Tiny Tim is Dead. Other theaters producing her work include Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage Company, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara. A Shayna Maidel (Off-Broadway 1987 - 1989) continues receiving regional and international productions. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting, a TCG/Pew Theatre Artists Residency, an NEA/TCG Residency, an Atlanta Mayor's Fellowship in the Arts, a Georgia Governor's Award in the Arts, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Plumfield, Iraq was developed at UCSB with a Playwrights' Center New Plays on Campus grant and premiered with LAUNCH PAD in 2008. La Niñera: The Nursemaid, premiered at UCSB in 2009. Her latest play Killing Spiders was read at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Black Swan Lab, LAUNCH PAD and Urban Stages.

Jami Brandli's ¡SOLDADERA!

Part epic and part grotesque comedy, ¡SOLDADERA!, is set in the Mexican Revolution during The Day of Dead Feast. A teenage girl finds the Zapatista soldiers camp where her mother fled to become a revolutionary soldadera (female solider). Upon learning that her mother died bravely in battle, the girl decides to become a soldadera herself, which sets into motion the telling of secrets that threaten to tear the camp apart. Mexican folks songs accompany dialogue in a play that Brandli calls, "By far, the "biggest" play I've ever written about women...It deals with the first revolution of the 20th century, class, sexism, love, tradition, the romanticism of war juxtaposed with its reality, forgotten women, myths, and fantasy...The fascinating stories of the soldadera have not been written about extensively. I want to tell this story about these women because the story needs to be told so they are not forgotten."

Jami Brandli's plays include Technicolor Life, BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!), S.O.E., M-Theory, ¡SOLDADERA!, Sisters Three, as well as shorter works. Her work has been produced and developed at HotCity Theatre, WordBRIDGE, Ashland New Plays Festival, The Lark, New York Theatre Workshop, Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Aurora Theatre Company, Moving Arts, Milwaukee Rep, and Rogue Machine Theatre. Technicolor Life is receiving its world premiere at Rep Stage in the DC area as part of the Women's Voices Festival, Fall 2015. She received the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award, the Holland New Voices Award and most recently The Aurora Theatre Company's 2014 Global Age Project (GAP) Prize. She was also nominated for the 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Award and a finalist for the Disney ABC TV Fellowship. A proud member of the Playwrights Union and Moving Arts, Jami teaches dramatic writing at Lesley University's low-residency MFA program. Her play BLISS (or Emily Post is Dead!), was just named in The Kilroy's THE LIST, which highlights the 46 most recommended new female-authored plays for this year. http://www.thekilroys.org/thelist/

Deborah Brevoort's The Velvet Weapon

A backstage farce, The Velvet Weapon, takes place at the National Theatre of an unnamed country, in an unnamed city. A matinee audience rises up in protest over what is being performed on stage, demands something new and begins their own impromptu performance of "The Velvet Weapon," a play by an unproduced playwright of questionable talent. Inspired by her research in Prague in 2005, in which she interviewed forty-three ringleaders of the Velvet Revolution, which marked the end of Soviet Rule in the former Czechoslovakia, Brevoort constructs a humorous examination of populist democracy as a battle between highbrow and lowbrow art. Brevoort writes, "I am interested in figuring out how to make the backstage farce work as an effective container for serious political ideas on the stage...I am anxious to get this play in front of audiences, in order to test its populist goals-and also to see if it's funny!"

Deborah Brevoort is the author of numerous plays, musicals and operas. She is best known for her play The Women of Lockerbie, which is performed throughout the United States and internationally. She is a two-time winner of the Frederick Loewe Award for King Island Christmas with David Friedman and Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing with Scott Richards. Crossing Over, her Amish Hip Hop musical written with Stephanie Salzman is currently in development at the Lied Center and CAP 21. Her plays, which have been produced at Virginia Stage, Purple Rose, Barter Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, Mixed Blood and numerous others, include The Poetry of Pizza, The Comfort Team, The Blue-Sky Boys, and Signs of Life. Blue Moon Over Memphis, her Noh drama about Elvis Presley is being produced for international tour by Theatre Nohgaku. Her work is published by DPS, Samuel French, Applause Books and No Passport Press. Brevoort is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a member of ASCAP. She teaches in the MFA programs at Goddard College, Columbia University and NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program.


From the South

Take Highway 101 North to the Highway 217/Airport/UCSB exit. Highway 217 will lead you directly to the East Gate entrance of UCSB. Upon entering campus, veer right of the roundabout and follow Mesa Rd to the third stoplight, Ocean Rd. Turn left onto Ocean Rd, then follow through a stop sign, two stoplights (across El Colegio Rd), then park in Lot 23 an open lot on the left. When you park in that lot, you'll see the Theater/Dance building in front of you across the bike path (Faculty Club is on the right and we are on the left.) Go through the glass door and room 1507 is halfway down the hall on your left.

From the North

Take highway 101 South to the Glen Annie/Storke Rd exit; turn right onto Storke Rd and follow across Hollister Ave to El Colegio Rd. Turn left. El Colegio Rd will take you directly onto campus. At Ocean Rd, turn right, then park in Lot 23 an open lot on the left. When you park in that lot, you'll see the Theater/Dance building in front of you across the bike path (Faculty Club is on the right and we are on the left.) Go through the glass door and room 1507 is halfway down the hall on your left.

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