In 1978 Obie-award winning New York playwright Murray Mednick brought his friends Sam Shepard and Maria Irene Fornes together with a group of actors and younger playwrights to Claremont outside Los Angeles to stage the first Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival. On an annual basis the Festival continued for the next eighteen years, extending the experimental ferment of the Off-Off Broadway movement into new and unique forms of theatrical expression. Featuring formal essays and reminiscences by a collection of participants—including David Henry Hwang and Migdalia Cruz, as well as Festival luminaries John O’Keefe, John Steppling, and Mednick himself—Outlaw Theatre is the first authoritative look back at this exciting legacy. The book will be a valued source of inspiration and craft notes for a new generation of young playwrights and theatre artists looking to shake things up as they craft the new.
Created by Guy Zimmerman and Bradford L Cooper, The Coyote Cycle features a narration by Ed Harris, interviews and performances by the original cast of the plays, Darrell Larson and Norbert Weisser, along with Priscilla Cohen and Christine Avila, interviews with Peter Stathis and A. Martinez.
Far more than an archival project, The Coyote Cycle delves into the history of the Off-Off Broadway movement and Theatre Genesis, in addition to covering the birth of the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival in Los Angeles. As such the film celebrates the work of a large and diffuse community of important theater artists associated with the festival, such as Maria Irene Fornes, Sam Shepard, John O’Keefe, John Steppling, Marlane Meyer, Leon Martel and Julie Hebert.
In 2022 Padua Playwrights presented the world premiere of Three Tables, from legendary poet/playwright Murray Mednick, a pioneer of New York’s off-off-Broadway movement in the ’60s. Mednick’s trademark use of quick repartee, dark Borscht Belt humor, and meta theatrical references are the underpinnings of a more serious, existential meditation on the advent of tyranny.
Like all of Mednick’s work, Three Tables is driven by poetic impulse rather than by linear story-telling. The topics of conversation range from petty animosities, to sex, to expressions of isolation and loneliness, to reflections on Jewish history and anti-Semitism.
We invite you to explore the website of our founder, Murray Mednick, which including his many play texts, highlights from past productions and media adaptations — please enjoy!
Airlock-24 by Guy Zimmerman
After the success of Blackouts, written and directed by Murray Mednick, Padua is proud to announce our second venture into the new world of hybrid online theatre work with Airlock-24, a sci-fi noir written by Guy Zimmerman, and directed by Scarlett Kim. Developed in Padua’s ongoing workshop, PaduaLab, Airlock-24 begins outside the International Space Station when an astronaut refuses to return after a space walk. Exploring the idea of the Earth as a fragile airlock surrounded by nonliving expanse of outer space, Airlock-24 tracks the crisis as it unfolds between this astronaut (Paul Turbiak), a Russian cosmonaut (Andrea LeBlanc), and his estranged wife in ground control (Cordelia Istel). The panoramic scope and the raw, primary emotions of these characters remind me of opera, says Zimmerman.
The layered video design by Alexander Grover composites live feed video with archival footage creating a visual algorithm delineating and muddying the boundaries of these three different spheres of existence, and how performance figures in each. Original music by Anthony Storniolo evokes film noir and psychedelic rock through a lush blend of vibraphone, accordion and digital synths.
“This is an experiment in finding new relationships between physical and virtual spaces,” says Kim. “We are exploring the interdependence of systems, the brain as a neural space, space suit as ecosystem, love triangle as a landscape, memory spaces, and Earth and outer space as metaphors for the stage in this new medium of online theatre.” Kim conveys the elastic scale of these worlds by generating surprising alignments and disjunctions. Her work here is bold and adventurous” not-to-be-missed!
Produced by Gabrieal Griego and supported by a remarkable cast – in addition to Turbiak, LeBlanc and Istel including AJ Delaire, Briġid Gallaġher, Peter Mark and Daniel David Stewart. Production and video design by Alexander Grover and music by Anthony Storniolo, Airlock-24 breaks exciting new ground in online theatre arts. Help keep L.A. theatre arts alive, and experience for yourself exciting new work in this compelling new medium!
Airlock-24 premiered online on Friday, 6/26 at 8pm (PDT), with subsequent performances on Saturday 6/27 at 8pm (PDT), and a matinee performance on Sunday, 6/28 at 3 pm (PDT).
We believe that no one should be denied access to the arts due to lack of funds.
Therefore all tickets to Airlock-24 were Pay What You Will.
We also believe in paying our artists for their work.
So we asked for donations at the box-office.
Blackouts, a new play written and directed by acclaimed playwright Murray Mednick, enjoyed a limited series of livestream performances back in the spring of 2020. Celebrated for his ground-breaking work in the avant-garde, and for the poetic quality of his street-wise dialogue, in Blackouts Mednick applies his skills to the beginnings of the Covid-19 crisis. In a series of trenchant scenes, the play tracks the ordeals of a patient (Maurice) admitted to a private hospital — where he encounters stressed-out doctors, conniving staff, sharp-tongued nurses, and a host of hallucinatory visitations — Maurice finds solace in speech as he descends into a drug-addled haze. Threading through the turmoil and invective are Mednick’s signature flights of hard-edged lyricism, and flashes of insight about the state of things in the U. S. of A.
With celebrated theatre actor Tony Abatemarco in the leading role, and a cast of L.A.’s finest stage actors, including Youssif Kamal, Christopher Rivas, Shyla Lefner and Jon Gentry, Blackouts is cutting-edge new work for a world turned upside down. Please join us!
Because we know how challenging it is to stay online for more than an hour, we have divided Blackouts into two parts, each 50 minutes long. Part 1 of Blackouts premiered online on Friday, June 5th at 8 pm, with subsequent performances on Saturday June 6 (8 pm), and a matinee performance on Sunday, June 7 (3 pm). Part 2 of Blackouts premiered the following Friday, June 12 (8 pm), and play also on Saturday, June 13 (8 pm) and Sunday, June 14 (3 pm).
Murray Mednick’s Mayakovsky and Stalin had its east coast premiere on October 17th, at the celebrated Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. Building on the success in LA the previous year, the production features a stellar cast directed by the playwright himself. This is the first production of Murray’s work in NYC since Joe and Betty in 2005.
AirLock tracks a crisis on the International Space Station in which an astronaut–Blake Black–is refusing to return from a space walk. The airlock he would return to is also malfunctioning in mysterious ways, and a Russian cosmonaut named Olga appears to be trapped there. The late night response of NASA’s ground control is being handled by Blake’s ex-lover, Christy, who quickly discovers there is much more than meets the eye in this high-tech, high-passion, high-stakes game of cosmic sabotage. Psychotropic radioactive mushrooms, systems theory, the Altai princess and the Super Bowl broadcast play important roles in this extreme space odyssey.
This was a non-ticketed event.
~ Guy Zimmerman, Playwright