2017 Spark Festival

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  • May 18th – May 21st, 2017

    From May 18-21, Spark will present four one-night-only readings of fascinating contemporary works never before seen in San Diego by exceptional playwrights. Diversionary’s World Premiere production of Ballast by Georgette Kelly is the anchor and centerpiece of Spark. Talkbacks, Master Classes with playwrights in attendance, and receptions give you the opportunity to mingle and celebrate with actors, directors, and playwrights throughout the weekend. Creative sparks will be flying!

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    Spark is generously supported by Bill and Judy Garrett

    May 18th at 7pm
    Le Switch
    by Philip Dawkins
    Directed by Meg DeBoard

    Marriage equality has finally reached the U.S. and commitment-shy David finds himself unsure how to react to the nation’s honeymoon phase. When his best friend’s bachelor party takes him to Montreal, he is unexpectedly swept off his feet by a beautiful young florist. In the months that follow, David and his non-traditional family (his sister, grieving activist roommate, and best friend) must decide for themselves what it really means to be committed, married, and queer.


    May 19th at 7pm
    The Nether
    by Jennifer Haley
    Directed by Matt M. Morrow

    The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination.


    May 20th at 4pm
    The Harvest
    by Samuel D. Hunter
    Directed by Anthony Methvin

    In the basement of a small evangelical church in southeastern Idaho, a group of young missionaries is preparing to go to the Middle East. One of them — a young man who has recently lost his father — has bought a one-way ticket. But his plans are complicated when his estranged sister returns home and makes it her mission to keep him there.


    May 21 at 2pm
    Swimming Circles
    by Philip Himberg
    Directed by Will Detlefsen

    In high school in the late 1960’s Martin and Karen were an inseparable duo, though as Martin grew to understand his emerging gay self, their relationship fell away. Why then, 25 years later, does Karen offer herself up as biological mom so that Martin and his partner, Peter can raise their own child?  As Martin begins to fantasize his would-be daughter in a parallel universe, AIDS takes root in his community, and his once-trusted world begins to shift. Traversing decades and dimensions, Swimming Circles is a heartfelt take on what it means to look inward and grow up in a time that dramatically changed what it means to be gay.

  • Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright and educator. His plays include The Happiest Place on Earth (Side Show Theatre/Greenhouse Theater Center); Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), Charm (Northlight Theatre), Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre), The Homosexuals (About Face Theater),  Dr.Seuss’s The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud (Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis), and many plays for young audiences and young performers. His play Charm, will receive its NY premiere at MCC this fall, 2017 under the direction of Will Davis.  He teaches playwriting at Northwest University, Loyola University Chicago, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program.

    Jennifer Haley is a playwright whose work delves into ethics in virtual reality and the impact of technology on our human relationships, identity, and desire. She won the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play, The Nether, produced in Los Angeles, off-Broadway, on London’s West End, across the US and internationally in Scandinavia, Germany, Turkey, Slovenia and Spain. Other plays include Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, a horror story about suburban video game addiction, and Froggy, a noir thriller with interactive media design. Jennifer has worked with Center Theatre Group, Royal Court Theatre, Headlong, MCC, Sonia Friedman Productions, Woolly Mammoth, the Humana Festival of New Plays, The Banff Centre, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark Play Development Center, PlayPenn, and Page 73. She is a member of New Dramatists in New York City and lives in Los Angeles, where she founded the Playwrights Union.

    Samuel D. Hunters plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, and most recently, Lewiston and Clarkston. Among other honors, he is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and an honorary doctorate from the University of Idaho. His plays have been produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Clubbed Thumb and Page 73, and around the country at such theaters as Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Old Globe, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Marin Theater Company, and elsewhere. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in NYC. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.

    Philip Himberg has been Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program since 1997. The Institute’s developmental theatre labs have supported hundreds of artists, new plays and musicals that have gone on to production and acclaim. Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, I Am My Own Wife, Indecent, Well, Grey Gardens, Circle Mirror Transformation are just a few of the titles developed at Sundance Labs. As a playwright, Philip’s most recent play Paper Dolls received its world premiere at the Tricycle Theatre in London and will have its US premiere at the Mosaic Theatre in DC next season. Philip co-wrote and directed Carry It On, a solo show for Maureen McGovern. His directing credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Some Men at the Philadelphia Theatre Company among many others. He is a former Tony Award Nominator, Past President of the Board of TCG, has taught at NYU Tisch, and currently teaches at the Yale Drama School.

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  • Meg DeBoard most recently directed Into the Woods at Salomon Theatre and A Wrinkle in Time for Junior Theatre. She lived in London for two years, studying with acclaimed directors Stephen Unwin of The Rose Theatre and Melly Still from The National Theatre. Since moving to San Diego about a year ago, she has worked on Hollywood! and Blueprints to Freedom, both at La Jolla Playhouse, and When the Rain Stops Falling at Cygnet Theatre, all as assistant director. She also recently directed a staged reading of Death of a Late Summer Songbird for Cygnet Theatre’s Finish Line Commission. Directing credits include: And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, Lulu, Seussical, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Hawai’i Premiere), Into the Woods, Urinetown, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, and The Little Mermaid. She has an MFA in Theatre Directing from The University of Essex in England.

    Will Detlefsen is thrilled to be working at Diversionary Theatre for the first time. Will most recently directed the world premiere of Will Snider’s Strange Men at UC San Diego’s Wagner New Play Festival. Select credits at UCSD include Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré and Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Later this month Will will direct the west coast premiere of Chris Thorpe’s Confirmation and Stephanie Del Rosso’s Machinalia at the Ubuntu Theater Project in Oakland, CA. His New York credits include the world premieres of T. Adamson’s House & Variations and Toni Schlesinger’s The Mystery of Pearl Street, both at Dixon Place, and the revivals of Sarah Kane’s Blasted and Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. Detlefsen’s assisting credits include Alex Timbers, Gabor Tompa, Terry Kinney, Rachel Chavkin, and Young Jean Lee. BFA: New York University; Directing MFA: UC San Diego.

    Anthony Methvin is the Producing Director for Backyard Renaissance where he co-directed their production of Abundance, directed the Backyard Unleashed readings of Assistance and Bachelorette, and both directed and adapted Showgirls: Live and Unleashed. At Diversionary Theatre, where he is Artistic Associate, he directed the Open Mondays reading of Wolves. He was Assistant Director on Buyer & Cellar and Sense & Sensibility (The Old Globe), Dogfight (Cygnet Theatre), Baby with the Bathwater (Diversionary Theatre), and Spring Awakening (Palomar College). Local performances include Doug in Gutenberg! The Musical! and Lord John in The Elephant Man (Backyard Renaissance), Roger in A New Brain, Reed in Boys and Girls, and Kent in Harmony, Kansas (Diversionary Theatre). Other favorite roles include Leo Frank (Parade) and Prior (Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika). His play, Bleed Like Me, has been developed locally and at FSU, where he graduated with a BFA in Acting. You can follow him on Instagram @anthonymethvin.

    Matt M. Morrow, Diversionary’s Executive Artistic Director, has almost 20 years of experience developing, producing and directing new works, having started his career assisting Ira Weitzman, Associate Producer of New Musicals at Playwrights Horizons. Under his leadership, Diversionary won the 2016 Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work by a Small Theatre. Matt is directing the upcoming World Premiere of Georgette Kelly’s Ballast at Diversionary, and has directed the West Coast premieres of works by Jordan Harrison, Christopher Shinn and Bathesheba Doran. Prior to joining Diversionary, Matt was the Associate Artistic Director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh where he directed the World Premiere of South Side Stories, and the regional debuts of Charles Ives Take Me Home and Tigers Be Still. Matt has developed new work with The Sundance Theatre Lab, the Banff Centre, Page 73, ACT, and CTG among others.

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  • $15- Admission to one reading
    $25- Admission to one Master Class
    $40- Admission to all four readings
    $75- Admission to all four readings and both Master Classes
    $100- Admission to all four readings, both Master Classes, and the World Premiere of Ballast on Saturday, May 20 at 8pm

    *Receptions included in the price of the ticket.

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  • Thursday, May 18th
    6pm- Reception (Fritz’s Lounge)
    7pm- Le Switch (Black Box) with talkback following

    Friday, May 19th
    7pm- The Nether (Black Box) with talkback following

    Saturday, May 20th
    12pm- Master Class with Philip Dawkins (Mainstage)
    4pm- The Harvest (Black Box) with talkback following
    8pm- Ballast (Mainstage)
    9.30pm- Reception (Fritz’s Lounge)

    Sunday, May 21st
    12pm- Master Class with Jennifer Haley (Mainstage
    2pm- Swimming Circles (Black Box) with talkback following

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