The 2021 Pacific Playwrights Festival
Launched in 1998, South Coast Repertory’s annual Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF) is a major national showcase for new plays, part of The Lab@SCR, nine programs devoted to the development of new works and musicals for the American theatre.
The 23rd festival in April, May and June 2021 will bring the total number of plays presented in PPF to 146 including many that have become mainstays of contemporary American theatre. Each year’s traditional three-day festival attracts theatre professionals from across the nation, who are drawn by the chance to be the first to see some of the best new plays in the country. These artistic leaders, along with SCR’s devoted new play audiences, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with seven new plays that traverse the theatrical landscape. And, in between plays, PPF offers a convivial gathering place for the sharing of ideas with colleagues and friends, old and new.
This year’s festival is offered exclusively in digital format with high quality video production, professionally filmed with a multi-camera setup to capture the best qualities of a traditional play reading.
The New York Times calls SCR “an incubator of major talent … South Coast has mounted an impressive list of acclaimed plays, long before the East Coast establishment got wind of them.” SCR’s 22 previous festivals have introduced such award-winning plays as Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band, Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole.
by York Walker
directed by Tamilla Woodard
dramaturg: John Glore
Streaming: April 26-May 2, 2021
When he returns home to his small Georgia town, rumors fly that blues guitarist Johnny “Honeycomb” James may have sold his soul to the devil to attain his musical genius. But in this twisty folk-horror drama, jealousy, distrust and superstition determine Honeycomb’s fate—even if the devil does play a part.
by Charlie Oh
directed by David Ivers
dramaturg: Andy Knight
Streaming: May 10-16, 2021
A Korean American family piles into the Buick for an all-American road-trip: open plains, rickety camper-trailer, kimchi and banchan. But Korean parents and American kids hold conflicting ideas of what they’re looking for when the real purpose of their journey comes to light.
by Shayan Lotfi
directed by Mike Donahue
dramaturg: Andy Knight
Streaming: May 24-30, 2021
Amir seeks asylum in the UK after fleeing persecution in his native Iran, but he’s haunted by what he's left behind. Now he's attempting to settle in a city full of strangers—looking for anything or anyone that might allow him to finally feel at home.
by Christine Quintana
directed by Lisa Portes
with translations by Paula Zelaya Cervantes
dramaturg: Anna Jennings
Streaming: May 31-June 6, 2021
Two women from different worlds meet in the fake paradise of a Mexican resort: Adriana, who works at the hotel, and Sarah, who's there for her sister’s wedding. Torrential rain, a father’s death and the mistakes of a night bring them together … but whatever they have in common, many cultural borders separate them.
HAROLD & LILLIAN
book & lyrics by Dan Collins music by Julianne Wick Davis
based on the documentary film by Daniel Raim
directed by Michael Greif
dramaturg: Jerry Patch
Streaming: June 21-27, 2021
A musical about the Hollywood romance of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson. Beginning with their elopement after Harold came home from World War II, their marriage spanned six decades—during which they overcame daunting personal challenges and made surprising movie magic.
The Pacific Playwrights Festival is all about the writers. #PPFPlaywrights, an offshoot of SCR’s #Commissioned video series, features the five wordsmiths and one composer who contributed the work included in the 23rd festival. Each interview will begin streaming shortly before the release of the reading with which it's associated.
Samples from the Lab
When you buy PPF tickets, you’ll also receive Samples from The Lab—exclusive video excerpts from commissions-in-process by Jane Bruce, Caroline V. McGraw and Jessica Moss. These works are so fresh, the ink hasn’t dried yet! Released on May 6, 20 and June 10.
Read more about the Pacific Playwrights Festival.
See the list of play titles presented during previous Pacific Playwrights Festivals.