PlayGround’s Festival of New Works 2018 festival continues with the premiere of the full-length play SCAPEGOAT by William Bivins opening with a press night on May 23, running through June 17 (previews May 21 & 22), a co-production with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. SCAPEGOAT is the second of this season’s
PlayGround commissioned full-length plays originally developed in the 2016 Festival. In William Bivins’ Scapegoat, one man tests art’s ability to create change in the face of another police shooting of an unarmed Black man. The play blends the real and comic book worlds as Clive struggles to separate the real from the imagined. Scapegoat is directed by Norman Gee with a cast that features Rhonnie Washington*, Cathleen Riddley*, Douglas Giorgis*, Patricia Silver* and Drew Reginald Watkins. (*AEA) For tickets and more information, visit http://playground-sf.org/scapegoat.
Scapegoat was conceived and written by playwright Bivins during a time when he was angry, sad, and confounded over a spate of killings of black men at the hands of the police. The enormity of the injustice represented by the episodes—which at one point seemed to occur daily—caused him to think about whether or how art can address the topic of race in America. Clive is a struggling comic book artist whose series, Scapegoat, once celebrated as a cunning metaphor for the African American experience, is now running thin. When Clive’s protégé is shot by police, Clive finds renewed purpose for Scapegoat. But as sales soar, violence erupts, and Clive begins to question the role of art in the pursuit of justice.
PlayGround Festival alumni represent some of the Bay Area’s top emerging writers over the past twenty years, including Aaron Loeb, Lauren Yee, Geetha Reddy, Garret Groenveld, and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, among others.The PlayGround Festival also includes Best of PlayGround 22, a fully-produced showcase of the top short plays from the past season, staged readings of four new plays in development, and readings of short works by top high school dramatists as part of the 10th anniversary Young Playwrights Contest.
William Bivins (SCAPEGOAT May 21-June 17) joined the PlayGround Writers Pool in 2012 and was selected for the Best of PlayGround in 2013 and 2014. He received a commission to write Scapegoat in 2014 and the play was selected as a PlayGround Festival of New Works finalist in 2016, receiving a two-week developmental workshop. Bill is an award-winning playwright whose full-length productions include The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry, The Education of a Rake, The Position, Ransom, Texas, The Afterlife of the Mind, and Pulp Scripture. He has won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Original Script, Pacific Repertory’s Hyperion Project Original Play Competition, the San Francisco Fringe Award for Best New Comedy, and PianoFight’s Short Lived Play Competition.
Norman Gee (Director), the founder and artistic director of the Oakland Public Theater, performed in the original developmental workshop of Scapegoat at the 2016 PlayGround Festival. For PlayGround, he directed works by Victoria Chong Der and Ruben Grijalva as part of The Potrero Nuevo Project, the inaugural production at Potrero Stage. He is currently touring with Word for Word in Lucia Berlin: Stories.
Douglas B. Giorgis* (Noon Day Demon/Marty) is a long-time PlayGround Company member. Bay Area credits include; Crowded Fire, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre, 42nd St. Moon and 3 Girls Theatre (Associate Artist). He has worked at regional houses throughout the country as well as Off-Broadway in New York City.
Cathleen Riddley* (Lexy/Dwayne’s Mother) is a multiple award winning actor who has performed at numerous Bay Area Theaters. Cathleen is a company member with PlayGround and Shotgun Players. She is an alumna of The Juilliard School, a certified ASL Interpreter and has an MA from the UPenn. She proudly works with incarcerated men in San Quentin in their violence prevention program called No More Tears.
Patricia Silver* (Clive’s Mother) was a member of the award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe from "68 to "82, touring nationally and internationally. She is a charter member of the Word For Word Performing Arts Company, started in 1993, originating roles in dozens of stories (Olive Kitteridge is her favorite), taking some of these stories to tour France. She has worked with: Shotgun, the Z Collective, AlterTheater, Marin Theatre Company, Pacific StageAlliance, Willows, Porchlight, Agora, a few others and some stuff on the web, film, TV, and radio.
Rhonnie Washington* (Clive) is Professor of Theatre Arts at SFSU. Some of his acting roles include Luke and Antonio in the Lorraine Hansberry's DAY OF ABSENCE and ALMOST NOTHING, and Ebenezer Scrooge in A.C.T.’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Washington received the B.A.T. Critics Circle’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his rendering of Sheldon Forester in the Aurora’s TROUBLE IN MIND. He is delighted to be working with PlayGround again, having directed in the inaugural season at SFSU.
Drew Reginald Watkins (Dwayne/Scapegoat) is so grateful to return to the mesmerizing world of theater. After working as a Fifth Grade teacher in Oakland for the past few years, Drew has jumped, headlong, back into his career as an actor. Before his tenure as an elementary school teacher he performed on stages around the Bay Area, such as; Cal Shakes, African American Shakespeare Company, The Brava Theater and Presidio's Studio A. Recently, he has been working in the film and commercial industry, and was absolutely thrilled to join the cast of Monday Night PlayGround this March, for their final show of the 2018 season. Always eager to learn and grow, Drew has studied acting at The Meisner Technique Studio and with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, building a concrete foundation for his craft.
22nd annual PlayGround Festival of New Works - May 10-June 17, 2018
22nd annual PlayGround Festival of New Works runs May 10-June 17, 2018. with more than 40 public performances and staged readings over six weeks, the Bay Area’s largest celebration of new plays and new playwrights.
The Festival includes:
-Best of PlayGround 22 (May 10-27, 2018), featuring the top six short plays from the 2017-18 Monday Night PlayGround season;
-Festival Staged Readings of four bold new works by PlayGround alumni (May 19-20 & 26-27, 20)
-World premieres of two PlayGround commissions – Julianne Jigour’s BRIGHT SHINING SEA (May 14-June 16) and William Bivins’ SCAPEGOAT (May 21-June 17)– originally developed at the 2016 PlayGround Festival.
PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, 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, among others. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of 850 original short plays and 75 new full-length plays, including 22 that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni – including some of the most distinguished new writers coming out of the Bay Area, such as Aaron Loeb, Lauren Yee, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Geetha Reddy, among others – have gone on to win local, national, and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, The Lark, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others. PlayGround recently completed renovated on its San Francisco home, Potrero Stage: PlayGround Center for New Plays, a 99-seat state of the art performance venue and home to some of the Bay Area’s leading new play developers and producers, including PlayGround, Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, and Playwrights Foundation, among others. For more information on PlayGround and Potrero Stage, visit http://playground-sf.org.