Scripps Ranch Theatre Puts San Diego in the Spotlight
The sixth annual Out on a Limb new plays festival focuses on works with San Diego themes
Photo by Darren Scott
See the Plays!
Looking for Muse, by Steven Oberman
The Box, by Joe Nogra
The Strange Education of Marina Santiago-Scripps, by Diana Burbano, Tom Shelton, and Chris Shelton
July 14–16 and 21–23
Scripps Ranch Theatre
For six years running, Scripps Ranch Theatre has supported local playwrights through Out on a Limb: New Plays from America’s Finest City, featuring work with themes that focus on San Diego. Here, artistic director Robert May speaks about this month’s festival and the excitement of discovering “the next great play.”
How are the stories you produce specific to San Diego?
The one main rule for plays developed in Out on a Limb is they have to have something to do with San Diego. Past subjects have ranged from a car accident at the corner of El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road, to how the Vietnam War affected the lives of San Diegans at a local college, to an SDSU grad whose cell phone takes on human characteristics.
The plays are workshopped at SRT from start to finish. What’s that like?
As Out on a Limb has grown and matured, so has our feedback. Our approach now is “We’re not here to write the play for you; we’re here to help you make the best version of the play that you’ve written.” Playwrights shouldn’t have to hear feedback like “I would write it this way.” They need to hear what worked, what didn’t work, what questions we have.
Have you seen any talent who debuted in Out on a Limb go on to further success?
We’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful talent—both established and “new.” Jennifer Lane, Tim West, Steven Oberman, and Lisa Kirazian are just a few of the playwrights whose work has been seen around the county. Actors Hannah Logan, Connor Sullivan, and Jennifer Paredes have been doing a lot of great work in San Diego since we first had them in the program. I directed Samantha Ginn in a show at SRT back in 2012, before she started appearing on every stage in the county! Wish we could take credit for “discovering” all of this talent, but we did get to work with them early on in their San Diego careers.
How has the theatre community responded? Taking on new work must be both a risk and a relief.
Across the board, the response from San Diego talent has been positive. There are a lot of actors and directors who really love being able to dig into new work. There’s an honor in being the first to explore a playwright’s brand-new script and help develop what could be the next great play, and sharing them with the public for the very first time is really exciting and satisfying.