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Q&A: Tamiko Washington, OC-centric New Play Festival at Chapman University

Something amazing is going on at Chapman University in Orange—because for all the talk about new plays these days, there seems to be precious little actually getting produced. And handsomely produced at that.

The 4th annual OC-centric: Orange County’s New Play Festival offers a double bill of one-act plays (“The Rothko” by Nicholas Thurkettle and “Saint or Sinner?” by Lew Riley) and a pair of full-lengths (“Gray People” by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm and “Bender” by Erica Bennett).

Producers Tamiko Washington and Eric Eberwein chose the productions from 42 submissions; a number of talented Chapman students are featured in the shows, which run through Aug. 31 (call 714-902-5716 or visit http://occentric.weebly.com/index.html.)

I asked Tamiko, who serves as artistic director of OC-centric and directed Kazmierowicztrimm’s play this year (stunningly I might add—lucky him), to talk about the event.

JY: This is the festival’s fourth year—how has it evolved since the first one?

TW: The festival has been able to procure more distinguished directors and qualified talent. We have also been able to collaborate with professional designers. The playwrights, however, have always been exceptionally gifted.
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JY: What has been the most surprising or unexpected challenge?

TW: The increasing decline of patrons in the theatre. With that said, it is necessary to demonstrate quality product so that audiences will want to return to see the festival’s new works.

JY: How do you select the play you want to direct yourself—what criteria do you use?

TW: I choose the play based on its dramatic effects and complex character development.

JY: Any plans to open it up to writers outside OC in the future?

TW: No, not at the moment, however, we would like to open the festival to writers that have previously lived within Orange County.

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