Santa Monica Repertory Theater kicks off its six week theater festival WaveFest, beginning Sept. 7 and running through Oct. 13.
The series of plays will take place at the Church in Ocean Park and will be comprised of “waves” of short plays over six weekends.
Centered on the theme “Go West,” the plays will explore many stories of the Westside and Southern California through the lens of history, neighborhood, cultural group, class status, age, myths, and the entertainment industry.
Plays will include pieces by contemporary Los Angeles and Santa Monica playwrights along with staged snippets of fiction and poetry by well-known writers with deep local connections, including Bertolt Brecht and Raymond Chandler. The plays will be interspersed with other live entertainment including music, poetry and dance. The festival will use the entire historic church, with audience moving from piece to piece in the large, beautiful space.
WAVE ONE (September 7–15):
Oh! Santa Monica by Tanya White:
A solo performance with music that provides a poetic snapshot of Santa Monica. It’s alive with images and impressions of a prosperous and less-than-perfect community by the sea.
Ms. White is a writer/performer who lives in Santa Monica and is a frequent contributor in storytelling venues throughout Los Angeles. An NEA grant recipient and a published essayist, she is currently at work on several theater pieces including a play based on her adventures riding public transportation in Los Angeles.
Don Gaspar de Portola Meets the Indians by Jefferson Byrd:
It’s Santa Monica, 1769: The Spanish conquistador Gaspar de Portola and his crew meet the
local Tongva Indians for the first time in this culture-clash satire.
Mr. Byrd is a writer/ producer and an ensemble member in the Brimmer Street Theatre Company. He has also served as a dramaturge and writing consultant.
Last Christmas by Jamison Newlander
A bad holiday commute on the 405...plus a baked chicken. George and Lisa were destined to fight tonight.
Mr. Newlander is an actor best known for his role in the movie The Lost Boys. He co-founded and was co-director of the playwrights group at the Company of Angels Theater in Los Angeles.
Indivisible by Ann-Giselle Spiegler:
Patriotism is more than just a word for a Santa Monica soldier. It’s a call to action.
Ms. Spiegler is an award-winning director for theater and film as well as an emerging playwright. Her plays eggs and Leaving Vero have been read at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, Syzygy, and Moving Arts. Her short plays have been performed at the New York One-Minute Play Festival, PlayGround LA and Seedlings.
A Water Story by Isabella Russell-Ides
As the coastline erodes and 10,000 bees disappear, WaterWoman and BeeLady debate the fate of our natural world in this fantastical, poetic reverie.
Ms. Russell-Ides is a critically acclaimed and award-winning playwright as well as a published poet. Earlier this summer Russell-Ides’ Lydie Marland in the Afterlife premiered to showers of critical acclaim in Dallas. 2012 saw the world premiere of The Early Education of Conrad Eppler, winner of Echo Theatre’s national Big Shout Out.
Watering Hole by Stephen Serpas combines magical realism with history as a troubled Westside history teacher gets an "instructional" visit from a 19th-century Spanish explorer.
Mr. Serpas is an award-winning playwright whose web series Before We Go To Sleep was an official selection in the 2013 Los Angeles Web Series Festival and the New Media Film Festival. West Coast credits include Xenogenesis (1998 Garland Award for Best Play from Backstage West) and Smoke The Baby, semi-finalist, 2012 Ashland New Play Festival.
WAVE TWO (September 21-29):
Advice From a Santa Monica 6th Lifer by Lisa Kenner:
Welcome to Santa Monica—where you never live just one life. A cautionary tale about farmers’ markets, NPR, PCH and the “Santa Monica dream.”
Ms. Kenner is an award-winning and published playwright whose plays have been produced nationally, including in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Her work has been presented and/or developed at The Clurman Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, SWAN Day Boston, and locally at the Blank Theatre, Road Theatre Company, Theatre of NOTE, and Theatricum Botanicum.
The Battle for Santa Monica Bay! by Carey Upton:
Professor Hill and a crew of clowns lecture on one of the most important, most forgotten and surprising moments of Santa Monica history: the Battle of Santa Monica Bay. Gangsters and gun molls compete against the saintly state’s attorney and the good people of Santa Monica for the morality of the City by the Bay.
Carey Upton is a theater director, teacher, writer and clown. His adaptations of classics and Shakespeare have been performed and toured nationally. He is also the Director of Facility Use for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
Weekend Getaway by Vasanti Saxena:
When silver screen icons, Chase and Ana, meet for a glamorous West Hollywood getaway, will their marriage unravel under the weight of the illusion they've created for their adoring fans?
Vasanti Saxena is a playwright who gives voice to those who are typically unheard—or not heard enough—in theater. Her plays have been produced/developed in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Her play Sun Sisters was the winner of EWP’s Pacific Century Playwriting Competition and semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and Princess Grace Award.
The Reaper by Raegan Payne:
Four Westside nursing home residents face death in all its terrifying fluffiness.
Raegan Payne is an award-winning, published playwright whose plays have been performed by celebrated actors to sold-out crowds across the US. She’s also a much-lauded blogger for her volunteering blog TheGoodMuse.com.
The Historian by Rachel Kann:
Can love blossom for two awkward outcasts touched with the gift of second sight in a Santa Monica Kinko's after midnight?
Rachel Kann is a writer, performer, DJ and dancer. Her novella, The Bent, is forthcoming from Black Hill Press, October 2013. Her collection of poetry and fiction, 10 For Everything, is available from Orange Ocean Press. She teaches poetry and fiction through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
The LineUp by Kevin Walsh:
For the last 43 years, geeks of the world have made the annual pilgrimage to San Diego for the pop culture nerd-quake known as Comic-Con. And for the last 42 years, they've been complaining about how it has all gone to hell.
Kevin Walsh has written comedy for National Lampoon and not-comedy for Warner Bros; comic books about witches and zombies; and several comedy shorts. He co-produced an absolutely- not-comedy documentary called Marwencol, which won an Independent Spirit Award.
WAVE THREE (October 4-13):
The Santa Monica Musical Extravaganza by Andrea Schell:
Three women sit at the Starbucks on 7th and Montana, trying to decide what to do for the day. Musical hilarity ensues.
Andrea Schell is a writer, producer and performer. She was most recently Associate Producer for the indie film Where We Belong. She created, produced and hosted the web show What Would Men Say? and wrote and performed in the one-woman show From Seven Layers to a Bikini Top in Less Than Five Hours.
See You at Skater’s Ballroom by Susan Bullington Katz:
In the fall of 1959, two girls transition from childhood to adolescence while the Santa Monica Pier reflects similar changes -- moving from marathon dancing to skating to rock and roll.
Susan Bullington Katz has written books, plays, TV shows, magazine and newspaper articles, and hundreds of celebrity interviews for Showtime, CNN, and the Associated Press. Her book Conversations with Screenwriters debuted at #3 on the L.A. Times bestseller list. Her plays have been done by the Met Theatre, the Actors Studio, Company of Angels, and the North Carolina Writers Network.
Favorite Cousins by Lindsey Haley:
A family rift forces two cousins to confront issues related to gang violence, social class, and brain drain in Chicano communities. Set in present day Santa Monica, the play questions Chicano culture’s struggle to survive in an old-school neighborhood experiencing gentrification.
Lindsey Haley is an 8th-grade dropout, GED recipient, teenage mom, former farmworker, community activist and Homegirl hailing from the Westside. Her poetry, short stories and news articles have been published over the span of thirty years.
5:15 am Ocean Ave by Mary Steelsmith:
Moments after the 1994 Northridge earthquake hits, elderly Evelyn and HIV-positive David find themselves tossed together as unwilling partners, trying to find their balance and make sense of what just happened. Believing the quake only occurred in Santa Monica, they decide to “face the music and dance.”
Ms. Steelsmith’s award-winning plays have been produced internationally. Isaac, I Am, her sordid tale, of love, life death and AOL, won the Helford Prize and has been produced at universities nationwide, including USC.
It's Not About Race by Jennie Webb:
A black comedy about racism and acceptance. A visit to Santa Monica's Ink Well beach gives two friends an unexpected perspective on what it means to belong, and to be "the other."
Ms. Webb is an independent Los Angeles playwright, currently in residence at Rogue Machine and Theatricum Botanicum, where she runs workshops and "Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights." She’s been produced nationwide and internationally, worked with programs including The Playwright Center's PlayLabs and the Virginia Avenue Project, and is published by Heinemann Press and ICWP.
The Alienation Effect by Bill Mesnik:
A sun-drenched fantasia, in which the celebrated German playwright, Bert Brecht, gets a taste of his own dark theatrical cuisine - California style! A hilarious exploration of Brecht’s years in Santa Monica.
Mr. Mesnik is a writer-performer with many original music-theater pieces to his credit. His drama about folksingers during the blacklist, Three Songs, was Critic's Choice in the Los Angeles Times and was nominated for Best Ensemble in the LA Weekly. His latest piece, a musical adaptation of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience premieres in November 2013 at The Loft Ensemble.
WaveFest will be performed
according to the following schedule:
Wave 1: Saturdays and Sundays 9/7 & 8 and 9/14 &15.
Wave 2: Saturday and Sunday 9/21 &22 and 9/28 & 29.
Wave 3: Friday and Sunday 10/4 & 6; Saturday and Sunday 10/12 & 13.
Performances are all at 7 p.m.
For more information, including a full schedule of plays and performers, please visit
Tickets are $20. They may be purchased in advance at www.SantaMonicaRep.org or by calling 213-268-1454.