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South Coast Repertory celebrates 21st annual Pacific Playwrights Festival

South Coast Repertory celebrates 21st annual Pacific Playwrights Festival
"Little Black Shadows" by Kemp Powers is making its world premiere during the 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory. The play runs through April 29. (Photo by Tania Thompson)

The 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival will feature new dramas by award-winning playwrights, including Amy Freed, Qui Nguyen and Kemp Powers, April 20-22 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa.

The 21st festival will feature two fully staged productions, plus five readings of new plays.

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Two of the seven plays come out of the theater's play commissioning program. New festival writers Julia Doolittle, Caroline V. McGraw, Madhuri Shekar and Kevin Artigue will also be featured.

Freed, a dramatist who presented first and early works in the Pacific Playwrights Festival, offers a comedic spin of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," with "Shrew!" running through April 21.

The second full production is a Powers world premiere, "Little Black Shadows," a play set in pre-Civil War Georgia, running through April 29.

An April 20 reading of "Poor Yella Rednecks" by Nguyen is billed as a hip-hop take on a Vietnamese immigrant couple settling in Arkansas.

A reading of Doolittle's "Love and Contracts" later that evening follows an 18th-century boathouse tryst.

McGraw's "I Get Restless," April 21, questions what happens when six years of a person's life are suddenly erased.

Shekar's "House of Joy," April 22, tells the story of Hamida, a bodyguard in India who wakes to the oppression in her midst.

"Sheepdog," by Artigue, April 20-22, explores the death of a black man killed by a white officer who is in a relationship with another officer, a black woman.

South Coast Repertory artistic director John Glore, who co-runs the festival with literary director Kimberly Colburn, called great writing and acting festival hallmarks.

Many of the plays reflect on love met with struggle, a link made by Glore and Colburn.

"They're all takes on a special level of imagination, and the threads made in the script have that adventure that can be very exciting," Colburn said.

If You Go

What: 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festival

When: April 20-22

Where: South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: $18 to $75

Information: (714) 708-5555 or scr.org.

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi

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