San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

Out On a Limb 2013 Playwrights

on July 8, 2013

Tim West (Playwright “Blackout at Battery Cliff”)

Tim West has been a San Diego-based  theatre artist for more than 25 years, as a noted actor, an award-winning director and as a playwright with more than a dozen productions to his credit. As an actor, West has appeared in over forty area productions. He is a Resident Artist at Cygnet Theatre and an Associate Guest Artist at North Coast Repertory, and was a Resident Artist at Sledgehammer and Associate Artistic Director of the Fritz Theatre.  He served five years on staff as dramaturge, publicist, literary manager and director-intern with Ensemble Arts Theatre, and for a season as Associate Artistic Director of the Fritz. He was also Asst. Operations Manager for the  San Diego Theatre League, and Vice-Chair of the board of directors of  the Actors Alliance of San Diego.

West got his start as a theatrical writer penning audition monologues for actress friends. His first produced work was Clearance for the 1995 Fritz Blitz of New Plays, followed by Charade in 1996 and  FDR Can Walk in 1997 –all presented on the Fritz main-stage in 1999 under the title Strange Bedfellows . Other playwriting credits at the Fritz include the Late-Nite offering Coupling, a real-time play about the effects of fame, entitled 15  Minutes for Fritz Blitz V, the main-stage production of his pro-choice satire Female Problems and an adaptation of Nobel  laureate Dario Fo’s Illa Ratta della Franchesca –all in 1998.

In 1999, Sledgehammer Theatre commissioned West to script their last  production of the old millennium, Phenomenal Acceleration: A Vaudeville for the End of the Century, followed by a 2001 commission for Universal Monster Show. In 2000, West was thrilled to receive the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park’s commission to write their annual West Coast marketing presentation for the opening Condor Ridge exhibit. Also in 2000 West was accepted to study playwriting with Old Globe Associate Artist Lillian Groag   (plotting), University of New Mexico librettist Ruth Margraf  (characterization)  and 2000 Obie-Award winner Deborah Margolin (ensemble writing) at the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Foundation –where he was profiled in their quarterly publication, Parabasis.

West was invited to participate in an ongoing online ensemble writing project  with Margolin, and with her blessing went on to teach her techniques in Sledgehammer master class and the theatre’s educational outreach program in San Diego city schools.  In 2001, West was invited to present his original work at the annual conference of Regional Alternative Theatres, and to be a guest panelist on director-playwright collaborations at the Lincoln Center West Director’s Conference.

West’s last main-stage production as director/playwright was Amelia Earhart, Lost and Found for the opening of the new 6th@Pennvenue in September, 2001. The play was recognized with a Best New Play award from San Diego Playbill, and earned actor Robert Dahey a KPBS Patte AwardTM for originating the role of Toshi.

After a five-year hiatus, West returned to playwriting by producing his own new one-act play, Breakfast for Dinner, which earned an award in Actors Festival 2007. In 2008, his short plays 15 Minutes and Charade were two of nine plays selected from hundreds for production in the 15th and final Fritz Blitz of New Plays.

His new play, Cooperstown, was presented in a pair of public readings in April, 2009 at Dove Library with Carlsbad Playreaders and North Coast Repertory Theatre, under the direction of Stephen Metcalfe. In 2011, Cooperstown was a semi-finalist at Cygnet Theatre for the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Fellowship. In 2012, Cooperstown was featured in the theatre’s Playwrights in Process series, directed by Lisa Berger. West also taught two classes in playwriting for the Cygnet series.

West’s one-acts Green Flash at Sunset and Battery at Battery Cliff, were selected for production in Scripps Ranch Theatre’s “Out on a Limb” series in 2012 and 2013.  In 2013, he saw his short verse play Great Reckoning in a Little Room presented in Red Bull Theatre’s Revelations Readings at Playwrights Horizons.  Also in 2013, his play Friendly Witness: a Technicolor Noir was seen in Ion Theatre’s Naked Plays reading series, directed by Catalina Maynard.

Tim West was raised in San Diego, and in 2012 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts  degree in History from San Diego State University. Since 2000, he has made his home in a small redwood cottage which overlooks a canyon in the community of South Park, alongside his partner of  25 years, actress Betty Matthews.

Emily Sperling (Playwright, “Mermaids”)

Emily Sperling is twenty-five, has a BA in English Literature, and has just graduated from UCLA Extension with a Creative Writing Certificate.  She will have earned a certificate in Feature Film writing in the fall.  She has always enjoyed writing humorous skits for church, and wrote a musical called Anonymous four years ago, which was produced by Encore Youth Theater.  She has worked as a stage manager for the past six years, working for several different theater companies around San Diego.

Story behind the play Mermaids:  Emily volunteered at REINS, a therapeutic horsemanship program for the handicapped, for ten years.  Her time there changed the way she saw those with disabilities.  She believes that many live with a skewed image of those who may be viewed as different. When she read the prompt for the Out On a Limb contest, the story of a mother and her autistic son came alive in her mind.  From that first glimpse into their lives, she knew that theirs was the story she was meant to tell.  In order to better flesh out these fictional characters, Emily went to her friend, Hannah Smith LaFrenz, and her son Truman.  The deep relationship between mother and son, when there are so few ways to communicate love and appreciation, are based on them.  Emily is also indebted to her mother, Barbara, whose professional editing helped smooth away the rough edges.  Without Hannah’s and Barbara’s help, Mermaids would not be the play it is.

Steven Oberman (Playwright, “A Slip From Reality”)

Steven is thrilled to be part of the Out on a Limb New Play Program. His previous playwriting credits include three locally produced productions: VANISHED at Swedenborg Hall; MOZU (book & lyrics by Oberman) at Diversionary Theatre; and CLAIRE VOYANT at the Avo Playhouse. Steven has also written numerous short, curriculum-based plays, used as educational tools for elementary aged children. The bulk of his career has been as Marketing Director for Moonlight Stage Productions in Vista and for the UCSD Department of Theatre. He as a BA in Management Science with a Theatre minor from UCSD.

Inspiration for “A Slip From Reality”: During a recent car accident here in San Diego (no injuries, thank goodness), I felt a disconnect with what was happening right up until the moment of impact. Trying to account for that disconnect led me to consider the idea of slipping from one reality to another. I also was struck with the fact that one’s path in life can change course in an instant. Putting those two ideas together became the impetus for my play.


One response to “Out On a Limb 2013 Playwrights

  1. Judith Montague says:

    Hey Guys

    Just love this visual layout. Fabulous. Also the interviews with playwrights. It’s always nice to
    get more in depth bios. I guess out next job is muscle. Time to flex them. Judy Montague

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