MAGIC’S 2015-2016 Seasonseason page




By Penelope Skinner

American Premiere begins September 17

On a busy UK motorway sits “Fred’s Diner,” a not-so-busy establishment with a secret beneath its cheerful veneer of 1950’s Americana. English playwright Penelope Skinner serves up a subtly plotted, blackly comic thriller that examines the darker reaches of class and sovereignty.


“Award-winning playwright Penelope Skinner’s new play Fred’s Diner is stylish and great fun – Skinner’s verbal adroitness is always joyful, and the production sets off at a tremendous pace on a wave of well deserved laughs.”

 – Jane Shilling – The Guardian



By Tanya Barfield

West Coast Premiere begins November 4

Pulitzer Prize nominee, Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life is a fast-paced and vibrant love-story that follows Erica and Vicky through the big and small moments of their relationship. “Bright Half Life isn’t about being gay,” Barfield says, “It’s about being alive and in love.”


“In Tanya Barfield’s engaging new play… two attractive and articulate women meet at work in their twenties, date secretly, fall in love, have children, get married (when it becomes legal), fight a lot, split, and, separately, watch their kids grow up. This well-written portrayal of smart women finding, losing, and finding themselves and each other again is profound.”

–The New Yorker


“Tanya Barfield’s new play Bright Half Life commences catapulting through a romance. Barfield’s fluid drama time-travels across a long-term relationship, fast-forwarding to its end and flashing back to its origins with few markers to divide scenes.”

–Tom Sellar, The Village Voice



By Jessica Hagedorn

Bay Area Premiere begins February 3

Magic Theatre literally transforms into Manila’s mythical Studio 54 – where you’ll find drag queens, beauty queens and movie stars alongside statesmen, activists and rebels. Welcome to the Philippines 1982 and Jessica Hagedorn’s no holds bar, Dogeaters. Explore the inner workings of power, culture clash, sex and celebrity as a country unravels at the end of the Marcos regime.

Dogeaters isn’t just a play to watch, it’s an experience to remember.


It’s always a treat when sitting in the theater feels like travel, when the world onstage reaches out to include you, and suddenly you’re transported to another time and place. It’s even better when your destination is exotic, strange and specific: say, Manila, 1982. 

–Bruce Weber, NY TIMES


“Putting history onstage is a huge undertaking, especially if it’s history that hasn’t yet been documented for generations of schoolchildren. Jessica Hagedorn painted a pastiche of colorful and violent history in her novel, then adapted it as a play, or, more concisely, a pageant.”

–Madeleine Shaner, backstage


“Dogeaters, is infused with a Filipino pop culture aesthetic that draws from American movies, local radio soap operas, and a celebrity-driven political system. Hagedorn’s own stage adaptation successfully transforms this mix into a vibrant theatrical landscape.”

–Dan Bacalzo, Theatre Journal


“The scenes of elite excess recall some of the better moments in “Evita,” and the seamy club world holds its own fascination.”

 –David Mermelstein, Variety


– Spring Residency with Mfoniso Udofia –

Mfoniso Udofia will be in residence at Magic Theatre during the Spring 2016, continuing her work on the epic nine-play Ufot Family Cycle of which Sojourners and runboyrun are a part. Throughout her residency, we will share with you the breadth of Mfoniso’s vision for this cycle, that encompassing the sweeping legacy of a Nigerian family’s triumphs and losses. Her lan- guage is ethereal and poetic, and her characters are rooted firmly in questions of circumstance. Mfoniso is one of theater’s brightest new voices, and we’re thrilled to be premiering these two incredible plays in repertory.



By Mfoniso Udofia

West Coast Premiere

begins April 21

Newlywed Abasiama has a plan: she will go to America with her husband to get an education, and then return home to join in Nigeria’s rebirth after the Civil War. But in a country where home, marriage, and love don’t mean what she expects, she finds her loyalties tested in the face of an impossible choice.



By Mfoniso Udofia


begins April 23

It is thirty years later, and Abasiama is living in Worcester, Massachusetts with her husband. Their house is haunted… but only he can see the ghost. runboyrun is a reckoning that brings the shadows of an unspeakable past to a head-on collision with the cruel realities of the present.

“I wrote this play because I wondered at the nature of unconditional love and the circumstances/fears that prohibit us from expressing it.” –Mfoniso Udofia



Penelope SkinnerPenelope Skinner won both of the UK’s most promising playwriting prizes in 2011 for her play “The Village Bike” which premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre and made its American debut at MCC Theater in 2014 in a critically-acclaimed production starring Greta Gerwig and directed by Sam Gold. Her other plays include “Fred’s Diner” (Chichester Festival Theatre), “Eigengrau” (Bush Theatre), and “Fucked” (Old Red Lion). She has written films for directors Kevin MacDonald and Susanne Bier and was a writer for several seasons on Channel 4’s “Fresh Meat.” Her newest two plays will premiere over the next year in London and New York.






Tanya BarfieldTanya Barfield’s plays include: Bright Half Life  (Women’s Project Theatre; Time Out New York Critic’s Pick). The Call (Playwrights Horizons/ Primary Stages; New York Times Critic’s Pick). Her play Blue Door (South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.   Other work includes: Feast (co-writer, Young Vic/Royal Court) and Of Equal Measure (Center Theatre Group), Chat (New Dramatists’ Playtime Festival), The Quick (New York Stage & Film).  Short plays include:  Medallion (Women’s Project/Antigone Project), Foul Play (Royal Court Theatre, Cultural Center of Brazil), The Wolves and Wanting North  (Guthrie Theatre Lab, named Best 10-Minute Play of 2003).  A recipient of a Lilly Award, the inaugural Lilly Award Commission and a Helen Merrill Award, Tanya is a proud alumna of New Dramatists and a member of The Dramatist Guild Council.




Jessica HagedornJessica Hagedorn was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the United States in her early teens. Her novels include ToxicologyDream JungleThe Gangster Of Love, and Dogeaters, winner of the American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award.

Hagedorn is also the author of Danger And Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and the editor of three anthologies: Manila NoirCharlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction and Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home In The World.

Work in theatre includes the musical play Most Wanted, a collaboration with composer Mark Bennett and director Michael Greif at La Jolla Playhouse; Fe In The Desert and Stairway To Heaven for Campo Santo in San Francisco, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, which was presented at La Jolla Playhouse and at the NYSF/Public Theater (dir. by Michael Greif), at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City (dir. by Jon Lawrence Rivera) and in Manila (dir. by Bobby Garcia).

Hagedorn wrote the screenplay for Fresh Kill, a feature film directed by Shu Lea Cheang. She wrote the scripts for the experimental animated series The Pink Palace, which was created for the first season of the Oxygen Network.

From 1975-85, Hagedorn was the leader of a band called The Gangster Choir. One of her signature songs, “Tenement Lover”, is included in John Giorno’s ‘80s downtown music anthology, A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth Of A Corpse.

Honors and prizes include a Lucille Lortel Playwrights’ Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship, a Kesselring Prize Honorable Mention for Dogeaters, an NEA-TCG Playwriting Residency Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the Sundance Playwrights’ Lab and the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab.

Hagedorn has taught in the Graduate Playwriting Program at the Yale School Of Drama, and in the MFA Creative Writing Program at NYU and Columbia University. She is the Parsons Family University Professor of Creative Writing and the Director of the MFA Writing Program at LIU Brooklyn.


Mfoniso Udofia

Mfoniso Udofia is a 1st Generation Nigerian-American storyteller, actress and educator. Mfoniso attended Wellesley College for Political Science and obtained her MFA in Acting from San Francisco’s Tony Award winning, American Conservatory Theater. During her stay in the Bay, she co-pioneered a youth initiative, The Nia Project, which provided artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Huntspoint.

Mfoniso’s play, Sojourners, which was recently seen at the 2014 NNPN conference as part of the National New Play Showcase will be produced off-Broadway by Playwrights Realm. In Fall 2015, Mfoniso will travel to Whidbey Island to attend Hedgebrook’s rural retreat for women writers. Mfoniso’s plays have been developed and/or presented/produced by Playwrights Realm, The Magic Theatre, The National Black Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, NNPN New Play Showcase, Makehouse, Soul Productions, terraNOVA, Page73 Development Programs, The New Black Fest, Rising Circle’s INKTank, At Hand Theatre Company, The Standard Collective, Liberation Theatre Company and JJCEO Youth Programs in Birmingham, Alabama. Mfoniso was a finalist for the 2015 PoNY Prize and she’s been a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Many Voices Fellowship,  Page 73 Development Programs, Jerome Fellowship, NYTW’s 20/50 Fellowship, The Source Festival & Lark Playwrights’ Week. Follow her at @mfudofia and check out her site for the latest news.