The Marsh, San Francisco’s Leading Venue for Solo Theater, Presents Its Second Festival of New Voices June 2 -13, 2010

Full Length Performances: “Uncle Sam's Children In Africa” by Sia Amma, “40 Pounds In 12 Weeks: A Love Story” by Pidge Meade, “Cracked Clown” by David A. Moss, “It’s All The Rage” by Marilyn Pittman, “Squeeze The Dollar, Change Your Life” by Sigal Shohan, “The Dream” by Kenny Yu. With Additional Short Performances by: David Caggiano, Victoria Doggett, Rebecca Fisher, Emlyn Guiney, Wayne Harris, Mark McGoldrick, Mia Paschal, Ann Randolph, Don Reed, JoJo Razor and Paul Sussman.

San Francisco, CA, May 19, 2010 --( The full-length plays will transport audiences from West Africa to Silicon Valley and deal with issues ranging from weight loss and cocaine addiction to self-help gurus and murder. The subjects are serious but their treatment should be filled with humor; four of the six performers are well-known stand-up comics.

The shorter works have been divided into three groups. The first, called The Groundlings, gives the view from the ground during the current crisis in California. The “eyewitness performers” include a public defender, a school administrator and a public housing advocate. The second group, called The Formalists, will present theater pieces that push the boundaries of solo performance. In one piece, a creationist preacher sets out to make his own version of Jurassic Park. Finally, two established Marsh performers, Don Reed and Ann Randolph, have been invited to use the Festival as an impetus to start new work.

The first Performance Initiative in 2005-2006, was developed by Marsh Artistic Director and Founder, Stephanie Weisman, with her long-time collaborators Charlie Varon and David Ford. The idea was to extend the theater’s mission of getting people out of ‘the artistic waiting room’ and onto the stage by commissioning fifteen artists to create new solo works and perform them at a festival. The group was racially diverse, composed of both men and women and ranged in age from 30 to 70— all of them had an important, if often little-heard piece of our collective story to tell. With the help of directors and collaborators, they worked together as a community over nine months, undertaking a rigorous process of rewriting and rehearsal. In addition, they received training in the business of art, with classes on publicity, fundraising, audience development and marketing. In the end, all five of the full-length works went on to critically acclaimed and extended Marsh productions and two went on tour. Of the ten shorter pieces, five performers have gone on to develop their works into full-length plays and one has received a full production at The Marsh.

In 2009, The Marsh received funding for a second Performance Initiative from the National Endowment For The Arts and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Work began in September last year. It is similar in mission and design to the first Initiative, although, building on past achievements, Weisman, Varon and Ford have expanded its scope. This time, they have commissioned a similarly diverse but larger group of 18 artists. They also decided to focus the shorter works on topical and boundary-stretching topics in order to stretch the form of solo performance. New training classes in voice coaching and physical theater have been added to the roster that already included sessions in technical theater, marketing and publicity, fundraising and the business of theater. And a filmmaker is shooting a documentary about the Initiative, with the goal of helping other performers benefit from its lessons.

Each full-length piece will have four performances at the Festival. The shorter works will be performed twice each, preceding the full-length works.

For the complete press release, please email Diana Rathbone at For photos, please visit and click on media.

The Marsh
Diana Rathbone