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Theater Notebook: Old Globe announces lineup for annual Powers New Voices play festival

Reanne Acasio, left, Carol Cabrera and Alexandra Slade at the Powers New Voices Festival in 2019.
Reanne Acasio, left, Carol Cabrera and Alexandra Slade at the Old Globe’s 2019 Powers New Voices Festival.
(Courtesy of Rich Soublet II)

The annual festival of new plays features Globe commissions as well as six 10-minute plays by San Diego playwrights

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The Old Globe has unveiled the lineup for its 2023 Powers New Voices Festival, running Jan. 12 through 15 at the Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park.

This year’s festival, once again sponsored by philanthropists Paula and Brian Powers, will feature four days of readings of 11 new American plays. Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein said the plays reflect the company’s commitment over the past decade to new American plays through commissions, workshops and productions.

“The writers with us this year promise to invigorate our art form with new energy, new stories, and new forms. They are using their art to distill the American experience in theatrical form, and their work delights, provokes and transports,” Edelstein said in a statement.

Tickets to the Powers play readings are free, but reservations are strongly encouraged. Reservations open at noon Jan. 5 at (619) 234-5623. A line for standby seating will form 30 minutes before each performance for unreserved seats. Standby seats are not guaranteed. More details can be found at theoldglobe.org. Here’s the schedule:

‘The Janeiad’ by Anna Ziegler

In Homer’s epic Greek adventure “The Odyssey, Penelope’s long wait is eventually rewarded when Odysseus returns 20 years after leaving to fight the Trojan War. Will the same be true for Jane in Brooklyn in 2021, 20 years after her husband left for work one fateful September morning? This play is about longing and hope as well as the myths we tell ourselves in order to get through the day. Ziegler is the author of the internationally produced play “Photograph 51.” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12

Celebrating Community Voices

An evening of readings of six 10-minute plays by San Diego playwrights, created through the Globe’s arts engagement programs CommunityVoices and CoLab. “To Tessa, from Dad” by Michael Subido is about Tessa, a young Filipina filmmaker capturing her last conversations with her father. “Everyone Loves Raiin for the Day” by Rudi Fate, is about Raiin, a dedicated therapist who will do anything to save her clients. “Between the Seams” by Melanie Taing is about Robynn, an actuary and metalhead rocker who deliberates with her grandmother about her marital status. “Two Gay Desis” by Farah Dinga is about Rida, a queer Pakistani who has decided on an arranged marriage, but a conversation with Rida’s queer cousin brings up unexpected questions. “Bound” by Gingerlily Lowe is about three generations confronting their own legacy of female feet binding and subjugation. “If These Walls Could Talk, and the Floor, and the Ceiling” by Daryl “Scooter” Davis is about an exterminator with bipolar disorder trying to convince his wife he’s ready to rejoin the family after making a few repairs. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13

Playwright Melinda Lopez.
(The Old Globe)

‘The Black Beans Project’ by Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez

This Globe-commissioned play is about siblings Mariana and Henry, who meet to share a secret family recipe that forces them to reveal secrets of their own. They transform pandemic panic into renewal in this tender comedy about family, food and finding the strength to move on. Lopez presented her solo play “Mala” at the Globe last spring. 4 p.m. Jan. 14

‘Wipeout’ by Aurora Real de Asua

It’s Gary’s 77th birthday and all she wants to do is surf. The only problem? She’s never stepped foot on a board before. But with the help of a hot-rod teenage surf instructor and the company of her two best friends, Gary is about to go on the ride of her life. As the three women navigate the currents of the Pacific, they must confront seven decades of secrets and sacrifices, not to mention the odd jellyfish or two. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14

‘Unf*ckwithable’ by Eliana Pipes

In this play, a disaffected millennial who was recently laid off decides to take control of her own destiny. She moves into a van, vlogging her #vanlife adventures by day and shooting down delivery drones to plunder the contents by night. She’s ready to become a modern-day Robin Hood, until one day she shoots down a box she shouldn’t have. 4 p.m. Jan. 15

‘Uncle Remus, His Life and Times, as Told to Aaron Coleman’ by Aaron Coleman

Contemporary writer Aaron Coleman finds inspiration in Uncle Remus’ famous “Brer Rabbit” folk tales in his struggle to find his own story in today’s world. Suddenly he’s transported to a plantation cabin in the late 1800s, face to face with the legendary Remus. As the withered man starts spinning his wild stories, conjuring up a fantastical world of rabbits and foxes, Coleman cracks open his own unspoken life and the galvanizing truths about being a Black storyteller in America, then and now. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com


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