There’s bad news aplenty in the world, so it’s always nice to discover some bright spots of good news, especially in the theater world.
San Francisco playwright Trevor Allen, who had a sizable hit last fall with his adaptation of Frankenstein, received a walloping dose of good news the other day. PlayGround’s New Play Production Fund chose his play Lolita Roadtrip to receive a $15,000 grant for production at San Jose Stage Company next season.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Allen said. “Jim Kleinmann and PlayGround have made a unique commitment with this new grant. By awarding the money directly to San Jose Stage Company to produce my play, they have insured that my work will actually have a life. In the past I have been the fortunate recipient of a few commissioning grants, which have allowed me the much needed time and support to create new plays. Of course, I wish there were more such opportunities for local playwrights because there are some amazing writers here who are truly deserving of recognition. But a play just sitting there on a laptop is like a blueprint for a house, it may look good on the page but the real test is to actually build it and then have a family move in and live in it for a while. Then you have a home. That’s what this production grant means to me. It has given my play a home.”
Here’s more from the folks at PlayGround:
Allen’s Lolita Roadtrip was originally commissioned and developed by PlayGround last season as part of the 2009 Best of PlayGround Festival. This darkly comic play follows Julia (a rebellious Stanford graduate student researching her thesis) and Danny (a hitchhiking teenaged runaway she picks up) as together they retrace novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov’s actual 1941 roadtrip from New York to Stanford. A series of cross country adventures ensues bringing them closer to Julia’s climactic confrontation with Professor Drake (the man who stole her innocence and plagiarized her journal). Nabokov’s spirit visits them and somewhere between the Grand Canyon and Los Vegas they confront their own dark pasts and discover what really causes a chrysalis to transform into a butterfly. Lolita Roadtrip will mark Trevor’s second world premiere with San Jose Stage Company, following the 2005 hit Tenders in the Fog, originally commissioned and developed by PlayGround. He is currently working on a third PlayGround commission, Golden Gate Fair (set in the Bay Area), which will receive a staged reading on Sunday, May 30 as part of the 2010 Best of PlayGround Festival at Thick House.
Allen said his experience working on Tenders in the Fog revealed San Jose Stage to be “wonderfully supportive of my work.” The new production is another homecoming for the San Jose native. “Besides a brief stint at UCLA for theatre I spent half my life there, and most of my family lives there. Now having spent the better part of two decades living and working in San Francisco, it is interesting to return as a playwright and have my words come to life there.”
Also receiving a PlayGround New Play Production grant (for $5,000) is Just Theater, which will produce Erin Marie Bregmann’s Nightmare Play at the Berkeley City Club.
Keep up with PlayGround at playground-sf.org.
Keep up with Trevor Allen at his excellent site, Working for the Mouse.