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Sixth Annual DNA New Works Project Kicks Off Thursday

Four new works get readings at La Jolla Playhouse

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Photo credit: Nancy Showers

Amir Talai, Louis Sallan and Ramiz Monsef rehearse for La Jolla Playhouse’s 2018 DNA New Work Series presentation of "3 Farids," by Ramiz Monsef and directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh.

For the sixth year, La Jolla Playhouse serves up its DNA New Works Project, part of its new play development initiative. They will hold readings of four new works beginning Thursday.

In addition to the DNA New Work Series, the Playhouse also runs the play development initiative Page To Stage Play Development Program. Tickets are free but attendees need to be aware that performances in the DNA New Work Series take place with no scenery, costumes, or staging elements, and actors have scripts in hand. The performances are essentially readings and creative talent is usually around for discussion after the performance for feedback.

The quartet of plays this year includes the musical “Weatherman” with lyrics by David Clement, music by Clement with Rob Bailey, book by Kate Moira Ryan and Doug Wright, and directed by La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley. It will be performed at 7:30 p.m., March 22.

Then at 7:30 p.m., Friday, “3 Farids” will be showcased. Written by Ramiz Monsef and directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, the story involves three actors named Farid, Fareed and Faread who audition for the role of a Middle Eastern terrorist (also named Farid) in a B-action movie.

DNA New Works Project: '3 Farids'

Playwright Monsef is also an actor who has appeared on television in “Law and Order” and on Comedy Central in “The Watchlist.” He began writing the play during his own auditions.

“It’s something that I wrote just to kind of deal with the strangeness of being in Hollywood and being an actor and being brown and sort of all the challenges that brings up,” Monsef said at the La Jolla Playhouse. “I don’t know, I guess my way to deal with problems in my life is to laugh at them.”

The play serves up a satire about Hollywood, stereotypes and pop culture.

Next up is “The Luckiest” by Melissa Ross and directed by Jaime Castañeda at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 24.

The 2018 DNA New Works Project closes at 2 p.m., Sunday, with “The Coast Starlight” by Keith Bunin and directed by Ashley.

All readings take place in the Playhouse’s Rao and Padma Makeneni Play Development Center. Tickets for the DNA New Work Series are free but reservations are required by calling (858) 550-1010 or visiting LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

The Playhouse website describes the DNA New Work Series as offering “playwrights and directors the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources, culminating in a public presentation. This process gives audiences a closer look at the play development process, while allowing the Playhouse to develop new work and foster relationships with established and up-and-coming playwrights.”

The DNA Series has produced a number of shows that have gone on to be part of the Playhouse’s subscription seasons including “Chasing the Song,” “The Who & The What,” and “Blueprints to Freedom.”

For the sixth year, La Jolla Playhouse serves up its DNA New Works Project, part of its new play development initiative. They will hold readings of four new works beginning Thursday.

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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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