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PlayGround Festival: Best of PlayGround(SF) '24

Header image that reads Best of PlayGround SF 24 with six images represented six exciting, diverse, eclectic short plays

PlayGround Festival: Best of PlayGround(SF) '24

Saturday, May 25, 2024 7:00 PM - Sunday, May 26, 2024 7:00 PM (PDT)


PlayGround is thrilled to announce the selected plays and playwrights for our annual ten-minute play fest, BEST OF PLAYGROUND(SF) ’24, including first-time festival writers Robyn Brooks, Kimberly Ridgeway, Louel Señores, Stan Stone and Lisa Gaye Thompson, and returning “Best of” playwright Justin P. Lopez. For two nights only, PlayGround will celebrate these artists and their place within the next generation of great playwrights in the Bay Area and beyond. Tickets can be reserved at for live performances at Potrero Stage and simulcast online, Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26 at 7pm PT and on-demand for one week. Admission is free (donations gratefully accepted) but advance reservations are required.

As part of PlayGround’s Festival of New Works, the Best of PlayGround does what it says on the tin: this is PlayGround at its best. From over 150 submissions and the 36 plays staged this season for PlayGround’s Monday Night PlayGround series, PlayGround’s artistic leaders have selected six ten-minute plays to give full productions in “Best of”, based on the plays’ artistic excellence and dynamism and the playwrights’ unique voice: Bessie in Medias Res by Robyn Brooks, Iván y El Justiciero by Justin P. Lopez, Madam Gorgo by Kimberly Ridgeway, Better Unkept by Louel Señores, Freedom by Stan Stone, and Mack & Mimi Encounter Totality by Lisa Gaye Thompson. In addition, PlayGround has named two honorary finalists this year: Christmas Spirits by Bridgette Dutta Portman and The Aisle by Daniel Martinez Jr. These plays and their playwrights highlight the commitment to playfullness, justice, and process at the heart of the PlayGround community. 

Since 1997, PlayGround has recognized 107 of the Bay Area’s most promising new writers through the annual Best of PlayGround, including Lauren Yee, Jonathan Spector, Geetha Reddy, and Cleavon Smith, among others. Alumni have gone on to win local, national, and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Steinberg Awards, Glickman Awards (including 3 of the last 5), O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and NNPN Rolling World Premieres, among others. 

For the complete PlayGround Festival of New Works schedule and lineup, visit 

Lineup & Synopses (alphabetically by playwright) 

Bessie in Medias Res by Robyn Brooks: Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey reunite in the Underworld. 

Iván y El Justiciero by Justin P. Lopez: When the kids at school won’t stop picking on him, Iván has no choice but to turn to his beloved lucha libre mask! 

Madam Gorgo by Kimberly Ridgeway: Medusa just wants the opportunity to have fun and be seen; little did she know, a chance encounter and jealous rage would change her life forever. 

Better Unkept by Louel Señores: Some promises can’t be kept; Some shouldn’t. 

Freedom by Stan Stone: Speaking your truth is like playing a rare note that resonates through eternity. 

Mack & Mimi Encounter Totality by Lisa Gaye Thompson: Mack and Mimi know something needs to change but neither one can quite make it happen. Until totality. 

About the Playwrights 

Robyn Brooks (Bessie in Medias Res), she/her, M.F.A., Creative Writing/Poetry, and M.F.A., Creative Writing/Playwriting, author of the poetry chapbook, “venus in retrograde” (Finishing Line Press, 2015), is a poet, playwright, and director. Her plays have been staged/read at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Tennessee Women’s Theater Project; Theatre of Yugen; Theatre Rhinoceros; Los Angeles Women’s Theater Project; Potrero Stage; and other venues. She has directed several of her plays. A playwright for SF PlayGround’s Writers Pool 2007-2013 and 2023-2024, Brooks is SF PlayGround’s November 2023 People’s Choice Award winner, and a selected playwright for CIMIENTOS 2024, a play development program for playwrights, through IATI Theater, New York. 

Justin P. Lopez (Iván y El Justiciero), he/him, is a mixed-race Indigenous, Latino, and Asian actor, singer, writer, and boba-milk-tea enthusiast, who is passionate about new works and loves finding true connection and humanity in each script. As an actor, recent credits include the world premieres of Kiss My Aztec! (Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and Unbreakable by Andrew Lippa (SFGMC). As a writer, Justin’s work has been recognized by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ashland New Play Festival, and many organizations around the country, including Teatro Chelsea, Custom Made Theatre Company, and Town Hall Theatre. Find out what else Justin is up to at 

Kimberly Ridgeway (Madam Gorgo), she/her, is a playwright, director, actor and producer. Her impressive portfolio includes writing, producing, and directing the full-length stage plays Prospect Place, No More Secrets, and The Gigolo Chronicles. Kimberly has directed projects for Altarena Playhouse, Contra Costa Civic Theatre, Oakland Theatre Project, SF Playground, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Palo Alto Players, 3Girls Theatre, TheatreFirst, Three Willows Theatre (TX), National Black Theatre (NY), and Spokane Civic Theatre (WA). Kim will be making her directorial debut at Shotgun Players (May 2024) and Central Works (July 2024). She is also a member of the PlayGround Directing Company. Explore more of Kim’s work on New Play Exchange. 

Louel Señores (Better Unkept), he/him, is an actor, playwright, and stage manager based right here in Berkeley! You may have recently seen him in The Engine of Our Disruption (Central Works), Tea Party (One of Our Own), or you probably didn’t see him stage managing Yerma (Shotgun Players), Balikbayan Box (TheatreFIRST), and Water by the Spoonful (SF Playhouse). He’s a proud company member of Berkeley Interactive Theater and PlayGround SF (This is his first season in the Writers’ Pool!), as well as a member of Shotgun Players’ EDIB Committee. Much gratitude to those still creating and supporting live theater in this crazy time we’re living in! 

Stan Stone’s (Freedom), he/him, past work at a SF hospice facility taught him a lot about life and death and love. It was rewarding work but also emotionally exhausting. As a way of self-care, he found solace in writing. Journaling and short stories gave birth to screenwriting, poetry and playwriting. When his mother passed, he wrote and performed a one-man show about it. Life, death and love are a constant thread in the fabric of his imagination. 

Lisa Gaye Thompson (Mack & Mimi Encounter Totality), she/her, is thrilled to be in her fifth season writing with Monday Night PlayGround. This season, Mack & Mimi Encounter Totality and America Chavez: Particle Flyer were staged and won the People’s Choice award. Last year, Three Centimeters Per Second also won that award before going on to a production at Fringe of Marin. Other short plays have also had readings around the Bay. She’s a founding company member, playwright and sometime host of Write Away, an online improvisational playwriting show.

Buy Tickets Here!



Potrero Stage
1695 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94107 United States
Saturday, May 25, 2024 7:00 PM - Sunday, May 26, 2024 7:00 PM (PDT)
Friday-Saturday at 7:00 PM
San Francisco
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