Summer Playwrights Festival 13

Thursday, July 7 - Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Thirteenth Annual

11 Days! 20 plays! #SPF13

Christian Telesmar – SPF 13 Director
Carlyle King – Producer
Krishna Smitha – Producer
Darryl Johnson – Producer
Avery Clyde – Producer
Sage Kaufman – Associate Producer
Scott Alan Smith – Founding Festival Director

The Largest Playwright’s Festival in the U.S. Returns to Live, In-Person Readings! All Play Readings Will Be Held At The Road Theatre’s Magnolia Theatre!

THE ROAD THEATRE COMPANY and Taylor Gilbert, Founding Artistic Director, together with Sam Anderson, Artistic Director, remain committed to their meaningful mission to produce and develop New Work for the Stage while theaters across the U.S. slowly reopen this year. They are thrilled to announce in this, their upcoming 31st season, the Thirteenth Annual Summer Playwrights Festival returns to live, in-person readings making the festival better than ever. Over 200 writers, directors, actors and technicians have volunteered their time to present 20 plays over the span of 11 days.

This year’s festival features all new works by playwrights from across the United States. Festival Director Christian Telesmar says “After two years of virtual play readings, The Road Theatre Company is returning to its roots and performing all of our play readings live, and in-person. I am beyond excited for the amazing, diverse new works we are about to share with the Los Angeles community this summer.”

Taylor Gilbert, Founding Artistic Director, recalls the very moment the festival launched in 2010: “It’s just an idea” said Scott Alan Smith, Associate Artistic Director emeritus, “Let’s start a playwrights festival!” We said “Sure, why not?” Now, 13 years later we are continuing our tradition of bringing new works to the stage for your enjoyment. We are back live this year and excited to present 20 new plays up close and personal in our beautiful Magnolia Space. That’s right no Zoom, no Webcams! Live in person! So join us, get comfortable in one of our seats and enjoy this year’s ride at The Road’s 13th Annual Summer Playwrights Festival! Welcome Back!”

Artistic Director, Sam Anderson, reflecting on the process: “Following the challenging several years of virtual programming and learning the art of hybrid producing, it is so gratifying to think of returning to live work: actors and directors rehearsing (safely), communicating with playwrights and collaborating on the best of new works!! With protocols followed as usual for the safety and comfort of our presenters, performers and our audiences, the Road is so proud to present 20 new works, under the leadership of Festival Director Christian Telesmar, the selection process diligently managed by Krishna Smitha and team and the help of our hard-working Road Artistic Board, with the participation of Road membership. We have much to share and we invite all new theatre works devotees to join us in this grand return-to-live-festival-going! Be a part of the process!! Plays, talkbacks, and the kind of inclusion we all want to share… THIS is SPF13!!! Enjoy!”

Thursday, July 7, 8:00PM PT
TUNE IN by Carlos Lacámara
Directed by Meeghan Holaway
A young female psychology professor struggles against the patriarchy and her own bipolar disorder to conduct LSD experiments in 1963.

Friday, July 8, 8:00PM PT
THE BINDING by Douglas Hill
Directed by Taylor Nichols
A gruff, old summoner in southern Ohio agrees to bind a protective spirit to a stone for one week at the request of a high school graduate who is trying to escape his abusive father.

Saturday, July 9, 2:00PM PT
Directed by Jacqueline Misaye
Seated next to each other in this darkened theater, two strangers have watched the first act of the play. Now the lights come up for intermission, and they have fifteen minutes to read the program, to check their phones…or to go off-script and devise their own dialogue. The theatre may bring people together, but the rest is silence up to them.

Saturday, July 9, 8:00PM PT
GREATER ILLINOIS by Steven Strafford
Directed by Andre Barron
Greater Illinois is the story of the decisions we make to fight, flee, or freeze. It is the
story of the ramifications of those decisions.

Sunday, July 10, 2:00PM PT
HECUBA by Amanda L. Andrei
Directed by Sara Guerrero
Inspired by Euripides’ Hecuba and the peak of the eugenics movement in 1970s Los Angeles, this surreal drama focuses on a Philippine-born baker and mother, Hecuba, as she struggles to remember and reconcile with the past violence done to her and her children – who may or not be imaginary but are very real.

Sunday, July 10, 8:00PM PT
Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
Lucas, a recent MFA graduate of Yale (and barely 30 years old), creates and directs his adaptation of Romeo & Juliet for a local Seniors Retirement Facility. During rehearsal and opening night, complications arise from conflicts and a budding romance between Rich and Rose, the two star-crossed lovers/residents at the facility. As Lucas juggles the play and real-life drama, his creative vision is truly tested by one regal resident, 90 year old Nina Sallinen, who interjects with her unsolicited advice and why the tragedy should have a happy ending.

Monday, July 11, 8:00PM PT
Directed by Denise Blasor
Four Latino boxers with world title aspirations try to make a better life for themselves and find the entrance to Heaven. To reach Heaven, however, requires they fight each other and the very universe itself before being allowed a chance to live their dreams.

Tuesday, July 12, 8:00PM PT
THE WAKE by Tammy Ryan
Directed by Christina Carlisi
In life, Colleen was a force of nature. Six months after her death, her sisters Maggie and Rosemary rent a beach house in Florida to scatter her ashes, only to find themselves and their respective partners staring down a hurricane. As the strong winds and rainbands begin, strange encounters with wildlife signal something more is going on. Filled with humor and heart, The Wake explores grief, family, and America’s shifting cultural and environmental climates.

Wednesday, July 13, 8:00PM PT
BROKEN by Aaron Braxton
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel
A witty, Two-Act dramatic play about mental illness in an African American family revolving around a woman’s compulsive guilt, drug addiction, alcohol abuse and multifaceted visual and auditory hallucinations regarding the accidental death of her 17-year-old son.

Thursday, July 14, 8:00PM PT
SINKHOLE by Alison Minami
Directed by Margaret Shigeko Starbuck
When a giant sinkhole hits a small town in Florida, Paul, the prodigal son, goes missing. His sister Naomi believes he’s fallen into the hole, but his mother believes he’s used the hole to fake his own death, thereby shirking his obligations to the family-owned sushi restaurant. In his absence, the two must face themselves and each other. The play jumps back and forth between pre-sinkhole and post-sinkhole times as well as enters the liminal space where characters explore the hole itself.

Friday, July 15, 8:00PM PT
TILLY BIRDBONES by Leah Annia Plante-Wiener
Directed by David Gianopoulos
An adult fairytale about grief, isolation, motherhood, and autonomy, Tilly Birdbones tells the story of a family’s final year with its youngest daughter, as recounted by the tutor who bore witness to her metamorphosis into a bird.

Saturday, July 16, 2:00PM PT
Directed by Christopher Goutman
According to the Chorus is a funny, nostalgic behind-the-scenes look at a pivotal period in the history of Broadway where women’s issues and the AIDS crisis play out through the everyday lives of Equity performers and union dressers.

Saturday, July 16, 8:00PM PT
BODY + BLOOD by Shannon TL Kearns
Directed by Ru Kazi
A fever dream, a man caught in Limbo. In the midst of a crisis, what do we remember and how? Joshua is a bartender who feels a calling to be a priest. Oh, and he also happens to be transgender. Caught between worlds, caught between his trans friend Peter and the guys at the bar and the stuffy church warden, can he make a difference in anyone’s life or is he just not enough of anything to count? What does it mean to choose visibility in a world where the visible often lack safety?

Sunday, July 17, 2:00PM PT
THE ORDEAL OF WATER by Stephanie Alison Walker
Directed by Randee Trabitz
1978. The first two female longshoremen at the Port of Los Angeles are trapped by their male co-workers in the cargo hold of a container ship just as it is heading to Shanghai. As they struggle to survive, they are visited by witches, who both help them and test them. This play is inspired by the first women to work at the Port of Los Angeles as Longshoremen.

Sunday, July 17, 8:00PM PT
This is an evening of short, one-act play readings

THE DAMAGE DONE by Robbi D’Allessandro
Directed by Suzanne Hunt
The Damage Done is the result of over a year of interviews with Jane and Dick Doonan – the parents of children swept up in the scourge of opioid addiction.

DATE by Amy Goddard
Directed by Nancy Fassett
Two people meet for a first date post pandemic. It isn’t easy.

GLORIA AND HER DRAGONS by Elizabeth A. Dudak
Directed by Avery Clyde
A daughter grieving the death of her husband seeks comfort from her aging mother struggling with dementia.

I CAN CRY IF I WANT TO by Natalie Camunas
Directed by Daphnie Sicre
After losing her older sister in 1968, Cecilia and her family are trapped in cycles of grief. More than 50 years later, finally ready to feel something other than sadness she begins therapy, unearthing painful memories. But how do you move forward when healing means cutting the ties that bind you to your family?

Directed by Justin Lord
A love letter of sorts. This collection of interviews challenges the stereotype of the “absent Black father.” Four Black dads and one surrogate Black dad spend forty-five minutes getting real. Police brutality, dating, having a child with autism . . . No topic is off limits. And there are, of course, plenty of dad jokes.

Each play reading will be followed by a moderated discussion with the playwright, director and cast.

Ticket prices are suggested donation of $15. No donation is too small, but if you can’t afford to donate at this time we understand. Please come anyways and enjoy some live play readings!

All in-person festival participants are expected to be vaccinated in order to participate in SPF 13.

All guest and theatre staff are expected to be masked while in the theatre, and all performers are expected to be masked when they are not on stage performing. For more details about our Covid policies:

Located in the heart of the North Hollywood Arts District, L.A. County’s fastest growing arts community, The Road is an ensemble of 150+ theatre artists fiercely committed to the creation and development of new plays. To further that mission, The Road has launched Under Construction, a diverse collaborative group of new and established playwrights dedicated to socially and politically relevant storytelling for the American stage. Celebrating 31 years of groundbreaking work and led by Founding Artistic Director Taylor Gilbert along with Artistic Director Sam Anderson, The Road is a multi award-winning theatre named as one of the top ten intimate theatre companies in Los Angeles (LA Weekly). Visit for more info.

Poster/Banner Design by Shannon Loys


#RoadTheatre #SPF13 #Playwrights #LATheatreLivesOnstage #LAthr #Theatre #TheatreIsVital #AloneTogether

Support for this program was provided through the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Arts Development Fee Program, LA County Arts Internship Program, and the Office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian.

Event Photography by:

Frequently Asked Questions

Each play reading will be followed by a moderated discussion with the playwright, director and cast.

If you would like to give a tax-deductible donation to the Road Theatre Company to help keep theatre alive, please click here.

More details on the readings in the festival, like Playwright bio, Director bio, Cast list and more, will be posted shortly.

The Road Theatre on Magnolia
NoHo Senior Arts Colony
10747 Magnolia Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601

(818) 761-8838