The New Play Development Factory has chosen the three plays that will be a part of their inaugural festival. Hosted by Palo Alto’s Dragon Productions Theatre, the New Play Development Factory will workshop three original plays by three Bay Area playwrights over a three-week period, beginning this weekend.

Each play is developed with a director and actors who will rehearse and perform a staged reading of the piece at the end of each week of the festival. After each performance, the playwrights will take what they heard during the reading, as well as audience feedback, and will further refine the piece for the following weekend’s reading.

“We’ve tried to set up the New Play Development Factory in a way that puts the focus on the playwrights and what they need to take their work to the next level,” said NPDF producer Jeffrey Lo. “The festival really embodies the Bay Area’s commitment to supporting work from our local artists. Our plan is to make this an annual festival that Bay Area playwrights can rely on as a vehicle for their work.”

The New Play Development Factory’s staged readings will be performed at the Dragon Theatre in downtown Palo Alto. The festival runs Friday, April 20th – Sunday, May 6th, 2012.

Bennett Fisher’s Don’t Be Evil directed by Heather Noelle Robinson

In a dark comedy about information technology and advanced interrogation techniques, a computer programmer is arrested after the search engine he designs gives a disquieting answer to an ethical question.

Performances on Friday, April 20th, Sunday, April 29th, and Saturday, May 5th.

Featuring: Robert Sean Campbell, Alexandra Creighton, Keith C. Marshall, and Shane Olbourne

Evelyn Jean Pine’s Astonishment Directed by Cara Phipps

In 1895 Paris, the patrons of the Grand Café are shocked by the demonstration of the first motion picture: a train arriving at a station. Maxim, a millionaire, decides to give all his money away. Paul, an anti-materialist poet, decides to masquerade as a wealthy investor. Jeanne, a pregnant housemaid, decides to get rid of her baby and become a telephone operator. And Marcelle, Maxim’s paramour, decides to conjure up a baby out a montage of stories, photographs, postcards and bills.

Performances on Sunday, April 22nd, Saturday, April 28th, and Friday, May 4th.

Featuring: Jon Deline, Zillah Glory, Robert Sean Campbell, Blythe Murphy, Sarah Benjamin, and David Scott

Tom Bruett’s Intelligent Men Ask for Directions Directed by Jeffrey Lo

A raucous comedy about deviance, in Intelligent Men Ask For Directions, Patrick and his pregnant wife Lacy are kidnapped on their way home from the hospital. Patrick, a sensitive, intelligent man must assert himself and evaluate his moral standing in order to save his baby, his wife and his liver.

Performances on Saturday, April 21st, Friday, April 27th, and Sunday, May 6th.

Featuring: Michael Champlin, Zillah Glory, Robin Merriam, Lydia Merriam-Pigg, and Jon Deline.

Tickets are $10 per show or $27 for a three-pack and are available online at

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.