2019 Conference Schedule

    We can’t wait for you to join us!

    Reservations can be made online or by phone beginning July 1. Donor Priority Access reservations begin June 17 for those supporting PlayPenn with a gift of $200 or more.

    All readings are held at The Drake located at 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

    For questions or assistance, please contact PlayPenn at mail@playpenn.org or by calling (215) 242-2813.

    Click here for a PDF of the Reading schedule

    Wednesday, July 17, 2019

    7:00PM: Strange Men (Reading #1) by Will Snider

    Harish lives a modest life running a restaurant in a small market town in Uganda. A member of the Indian minority, he is estranged from his family for reasons he prefers not to discuss, and at night he cooks elaborate dinners that he eats alone. When an openly gay Peace Corps volunteer comes to town looking for more than a good meal, Harish’s comfortable routine is broken, and his life is put in danger. Strange Men explores the limits of good intentions and the uneven stakes for Americans living abroad and the people whose lives they touch.

    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    7:00PM: The Piper (Reading #1) by Kate Hamill

    See Jane. Plain Jane. Poor Jane. See Jane suffer. See Jane find Harmonix. And then – watch Jane bloom…. Harmonix makes you feel good – better than you’ve ever felt before. With Harmonix, you belong. With Harmonix, you are loved. But at what cost? A woman in crisis finds a spiritual home – and encounters the darkest parts of human (or inhuman?) nature – in this exploration of how groupthink enables cycles of toxic masculinity.

    Friday, July 19, 2019

    5:00PM: Archipelago (Reading #1) by Amy E. Witting

    Three individuals isolated in their own pain come together in hopes of raising each other up before tearing each other down.

    8:00PM: Incendiary (Reading #1) by Dave Harris

    Incendiary tells the journey of a Black single mother who is preparing to break her deathrow-bound son out of prison. She navigates the practical steps of planning her son’s prison break, like purchasing guns, getting a personal trainer, and preparing her daughter for a lonely life ahead. A collision between the absurd and the tragic, Incendiary explores generational violence, heroism, and the gendered expectations of emotional labor in Black families.

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

    2:00PM: Wayfinding (Reading #1) by Whitney Rowland

    Jane is an emotionally-numbed new widow. Harrison is an inattentive, self-sabotaging husband. These two strangers collide – both literally and figuratively – tangling their life lines and setting them on a time-bending journey involving an intercontinental plane crash, a magical forest, and a choice that leads them both to an unexpected destination.

    5:00PM: Cave Canem (Reading #1) by A. Emmanuel Leadon

    A loving father of three daughters has gone missing on his way to work. His car is found at the bottom of the river and the circumstances of his death don’t add up. The local police think he ran away, but nobody knows why. People crack under pressure all the time, but sometimes they do it in the most remarkable ways. This play asks, “Why would you ever leave your family? And if you did dare to leave home, what would bring you back again?”

    Monday, July 22, 2019

    7:00PM: Esther Choi and the Fish That Drowned by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters (Foundry Reading)

    Esther Choi is your favorite all-American, overachieving-Asian teen except she has a ghost. Anthony Gibson is Esther’s best friend and (spoiler alert) he’s dead. Mr. Choi is Esther’s grandfather and he owns a haunted dry cleaner on Cheltenham Ave. In an (un)likely turn of events, Esther must grapple with grief, loneliness, and winning first chair in high school orchestra, all while living up to her grandfather’s new expectations.

    The Foundry is PlayPenn’s professional development and membership program for emerging Philadelphia-area playwrights.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2019

    7:00PM: Buffalo Bill or How To Be a Good Man by Stephen Meghan Kennedy

    This provocative coming of age story takes a fresh look at boundaries and culpability when an unorthodox love triangle goes beyond abuse of power and into something entirely in its own category.

    Thursday, July 25, 2019

    7:00PM: Strange Men (Reading #2) by Will Snider

    Harish lives a modest life running a restaurant in a small market town in Uganda. A member of the Indian minority, he is estranged from his family for reasons he prefers not to discuss, and at night he cooks elaborate dinners that he eats alone. When an openly gay Peace Corps volunteer comes to town looking for more than a good meal, Harish’s comfortable routine is broken, and his life is put in danger. Strange Men explores the limits of good intentions and the uneven stakes for Americans living abroad and the people whose lives they touch.

    Friday, July 26, 2019

    8:00PM: The Piper (Reading #2) by Kate Hamill

    See Jane. Plain Jane. Poor Jane. See Jane suffer. See Jane find Harmonix. And then – watch Jane bloom…. Harmonix makes you feel good – better than you’ve ever felt before. With Harmonix, you belong. With Harmonix, you are loved. But at what cost? A woman in crisis finds a spiritual home – and encounters the darkest parts of human (or inhuman?) nature – in this exploration of how groupthink enables cycles of toxic masculinity.

    Saturday, July 27, 2019

    2:00PM: Intern Playwright Ten-Minute Plays

    Each summer we invite six interns from across the country to learn the ins and outs of new play development by working alongside our Conference playwrights. In addition to taking on a supporting role in every area of our work, they have the opportunity to write, revise and rehearse a 10-minute play written under the instruction and guidance of  playwright and Foundry lead artist, John Yearley. During the final week of the Conference, we have the pleasure of hearing six ten-minute plays, written by PlayPenn’s 2019 Interns and performed by Conference actors. These young artists are the future of the American theatre and their plays are a highlight of each year’s Conference.

    4:00PM: Incendiary (Reading #2) by Dave Harris

    Incendiary tells the journey of a Black single mother who is preparing to break her deathrow-bound son out of prison. She navigates the practical steps of planning her son’s prison break, like purchasing guns, getting a personal trainer, and preparing her daughter for a lonely life ahead. A collision between the absurd and the tragic, Incendiary explores generational violence, heroism, and the gendered expectations of emotional labor in Black families.

    8:00PM: Archipelago (Reading #2) by Amy E. Witting

    Three individuals isolated in their own pain come together in hopes of raising each other up before tearing each other down.

    Sunday, July 28, 2019

    2:00PM: Cave Canem (Reading #2) by A. Emmanuel Leadon

    After a shocking confession from Clayton on the night of the presidential election, his next-door neighbor Jermichael cut off their lifelong friendship. In the present, Clayton has been caring for his brother’s obstreperous and possibly bigoted dog, while Jermichael has just been granted partial custody of his estranged son. They struggle to bottle their resentments before their collective rage takes complete control.

    5:00PM: Wayfinding (Reading #2) by Whitney Rowland

    Jane is an emotionally-numbed new widow. Harrison is an inattentive, self-sabotaging husband. These two strangers collide – both literally and figuratively – tangling their life lines and setting them on a time-bending journey involving an intercontinental plane crash, a magical forest, and a choice that leads them both to an unexpected destination.

    Want to learn more about playwriting and how Conference plays grow during development? Check out our list of summer classes here!

    "It’s impossible to imagine my writing life without PlayPenn’s support. Over the last eleven years, my collaborators at PlayPenn have become part of my theatrical family. "

    --J.T. Rogers, Playwright