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One Acts

May 17 - June 10 | Arthur Wagner Theatre

Three one-act plays by first-year MFA playwrights presented in a single evening.

The run time for all the one-acts together is 1 hour 45 minutes, including two 7-minute stretch breaks.



Purchase tickets using the links below

PREVIEW May 17 @ 7:00pm

May 19 @ 7:30pm

May 20 @ 2:00pm

May 20 @ 7:30pm

June 9 @ 7:30pm

June 10 @ 10:30am


grippy sock vacation

by Beth Hyland. Directed by Ludmila de Brito.


About the Show

It's Family Weekend at Hollybrook Knolls Residential Treatment Center. Caroline is visiting her
younger sister, high school senior Isabella. Isabella has a lot to say. Caroline doesn't want to hear
any of it, but maybe she'll learn the TikTok dance Isabella wants to teach her. A darkly comic
exploration of sisterhood and mental illness, grippy sock vacation explores the secrets we can't
afford to keep. 


Content Warning

grippy sock vacation discusses the following topics: suicide and suicidality, self-harm, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, OCD, mental illness stigma, eating disorders, postpartum depression.


Director's Note

Family; How do we navigate generations of collective unprocessed pain, and how long is survival mode sustainable? 

When did we inherit the need to pretend everything is okay?  

The stigma of mental illness across cultures and generations is something that I had to personally fight against and grapple with myself this past year after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety on top of ADHD and getting family backlash for considering treatment. 

Among the many divides in this country, we see generational polarization. 

Grippy Sock Vacation by Beth Hyland holds your heart and shakes it to the beat of a Tik-Tok viral dance. Caroline and Isabella, Gen Z’er and Millennial sisters, fight to connect across generational trauma in our tech dystopia to remind us that there is always something we must learn from each other. 

Thank you for being here.


The Cast

Isabella - Sabrina Liu

Caroline - Iris Feng

Isabella Understudy - Mawce Dunn

Caroline Understudy - Vivian White


The Creative Team

Director - Ludmila de Brito
Playwright - Beth Hyland
Assistant Director - Mawce Dunn
Assistant Director - Vivian White
Scenic Designer - Frank Seed
Assistant Scenic Designer - Gabi Chen
Lighting Designer - Stephaney Knapp
Sound Designer - Aaron Mencher
Associate Sound Designer/Composer - Roselle-Angeline Castro
Costume Designer - Lauren Agas-Dominguez
Movement Coordinator - Mia Van Deloo
Sound Programmer - Jonathan Ventura
Faculty EDI Advocate - Mark Guirguis
Voice & Text Coach - Ursula Meyer
Production Stage Manager - Avery Simonian
Assistant Stage Manager - Tess Twomey


About The Director

Ludmila de Brito is a Brazilian director of Indigenous descent who loves telling stories. Her heart steers towards politically urgent work and plays that ask us to transcend the conditioning of surviving. "When do we start living?"

Most recently, Ludy directed Emily J. Daly's episode of the MTARadioPlays (Rattlestick) as well as Project Transform (Hartford Stage) with Nilaja Sun. United World Colleges and NTI alum, Ludy is a Lin Manuel Miranda Family Fellow. She has directed in Brazil and India. Ludy has assisted Jenna Worsham in The Siblings Play by Ren Dara Santiago at Rattlestick and Megan Sandberg-Zakian in Much Ado at the Boston Common. As an educator, she has worked with Westerville South Theatre, Hartford Stage, and the National Theater Institute at the O'Neill.

About The Playwright


Beth Hyland is a playwright and screenwriter most recently based in Chicago. Her plays, which include Fires, Ohio, SYLVIA SYLVIA SYLVIA, Seagulls, Killed a Man (Joking), and All-One! The Dr. Bronner’s Play, have been produced and developed at Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf LookOut, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, The Hearth, Rivendell Theatre, B Street Theatre, Know Theatre, The Sound (in association with Joe Swanberg), and First Floor Theater, among others. She is the 2023 recipient of KCACTF’s Paul Vogel Award and the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting. She is a 1st-year Playwriting MFA candidate at UC San Diego. Representation: Jamie Kaye-Phillips and Andrew Minkin, UTA.  


Just the Two of Us

by Phanésia Pharel. Directed by Madison Mae Williams.


About the Show

Bean needs her stubborn Haitian American mother to slow down and take her health seriously.
Bean's mother needs Bean to get her life together and listen to her advice. A story of two strong
women who love each other mightily but don't see eye to eye, Just The Two of us explores the
complicated bond between mother and daughter and what it means to live your own version of
the American Dream.


Director's Note

“you—enigmatic woman exploding
from clouds and intestines, riverbanks,
kneecaps, veins and horizons
tongues embroidered with eyelashes.
you burn in my throat
i walk your footsteps

you are here. you are there.
you will never go away.
you kiss your own breath
sleepwalk your eyes
stretch out with mouths
singing your legs.”
— Sonia Sanchez, “Belly, Buttocks, and Straight Spines”

Just the Two of Us is a play that places bonds at its core—who we connect with throughout our
lives, what relationships we prioritize, and how love and caretaking play a role in those
connections. The thematic intersections of motherhood, daughterhood, Blackness, and
womanhood are key to the relationships that Phanésia Pharel explores in this play, and it has
been an immense privilege being a part of the development of new work that centers that which
is so often pushed to the margins. Moving between the present and the past, shifting temporally
through memories that Lady of Mind and Bean—mother and daughter—share, this play is a
beautiful reflection on family, legacy, mortality, and the equal ephemerality and weightiness of
what it means to achieve excellence. Just the Two of Us asks us to engage with the
questions—What is that unnamable covenant formed between mothers and daughters? How do
we grapple with achieving The American Dream? and, who are our forever friends?


Content Warning

coming soon...


The Cast

Lady Of Mind - Leovina Charles
Bean - Colby Muhammad


The Creative Team

Playwright - Phanésia Pharrell
Director - Madison Mae Williams
Scenic Designer - Frank Seed
Lighting Co-Designer - Stephaney Knapp
Lighting Co-Designer - Brandon Chaing
Costume Designer - Lauren Agans-Dominguez
Sound Designer - Jennifer Hernandez
Assistant Director - Tova Petty
Assistant Scenic Designer - Gabrielle Chen
Production Manager - Michael Francis
Associate Production Manager - Laura Manning
EDI Advocate - Jade Power-Sotomayor


The Stage Management Team

Production Stage Manager - Hannah Marie Gallagher
Assistant Stage Manager - Aaronne Louis-Charles


About The Director

Madison Mae Williams (she/her) is a fifth-year PhD candidate. Born and raised on Cape Cod, she received her BA concentrating in musical theatre, poetry, and Africana studies from Hampshire College. Maddie’s dissertation project focuses on alienation in countercultural performances of the Long Sixties. Her other research areas include American musical theatre, the Black Power/Arts movements, horror and the uncanny, performance for children, and the films of Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes.

Maddie has worked with La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, Cygnet Theatre, the New Cosmopolitans, the Playwrights Realm, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. She is passionate about theatre work that is accessible, radical, and increases visibility and representation for people of marginalized identities. Maddie is a proud member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Black Theatre Network. UC San Diego credits: BAAL (Director), Elektra (Music Director), Man In Love (Dramaturg), Incendiary (WNPF ‘19 staged reading), Everybody Black (Assistant/Music Director, Dramaturg).


About The Playwright

Phanésia Pharel grew up on a dragon fruit farm in Miami and is a recent graduate of Barnard College where she majored in Urban Studies. Her plays include: Lucky (New York Stage and Film, KCACTF’s 2023 Rosa Parks Playwriting Award) and Black Girl Joy (a finalist for the Jane Chambers Award). Phanésia is a member of EST/ Youngblood, and has commissions with City Theatre Miami, the Latinx Playwrights Circle, Pregones/PRTT Greater Good Commission, and Thrown Stone Theatre. Phanésia is a 1st-year Playwriting MFA candidate at UC San Diego. Representation: Bonnie Davis, Bret Adams.



by Mylan Gray. Directed by Allie Moss.

About the Show

It's Ryan's first day at a mysterious office where Black men occasionally fight each other to the
death. David, the old-timer, does all he can to stay on top, but can't keep up to save his life. In a
world that encourages Black men to kill each other to survive, Boxed asks if it's possible for
Black men to love each other in the face of state-sanctioned brutality and a culture where lethal
violence is an everyday reality.

Director's Note

Boxed is a play for our times. We witness David and Ryan, two Black “employees” in what seems like the office from hell. They must navigate the dangerously arbitrary rules of their surroundings that encourage them to undermine each other in order to get ahead.  To me, this is the crux of the play: patriarchal white supremacy thrives when marginalized groups (in this play, specifically Black men) are prevented from collaborating and creating community. This feels especially relevant in 2023, as we continue to march through the violent backlash against the “woke” progress that was almost made during the so-called racial reckoning of 2020. We’re deep in a culture of gaslighting and lies packaged as truths designed to undermine the very real experiences of racism and anti-Black violence. These lies also purposefully obfuscate the persistent, calculated tradition of this violence in our country by placing it squarely in the realm of “history,” seemingly far away and disconnected from our current situation. This play brings it to the fore and serves as a stark reminder that our history is not as far behind as we are encouraged to think it. In doing so, it exposes the sinisterly intertwined lineage of racism and capitalism. Both are far-reaching systems deeply entrenched in American life and psyche, and Boxed poses the question: given all of this, can you ever really get out?

Content Warning

Depictions of physical violence against Black men, Strong language/profanity, References to death, suicide, and murder, Described violence, Blood, References to generational and family trauma, Yelling/loud sudden sounds, Flashing lights, Fire alarm sounds. 

  Click image to view digital program!

 The Cast

David - June Nyong'o

The Creative Team

Director - Allie Moss
Playwright - Mylan Gray
Assistant Director - Riohn Jones
Scenic Designer - Frank Seed
Assistant Scenic Designer - Gabi Chen
Costume Designer - Caprice Shirley
Assistant Costume Designer - Madi Hoffman
Lighting Designer - Brandon Chaing
Sound Designer - Padra Crisafulli
Production Stage Manager - Lauren Guiso
Assistant Stage Manager - Charity Reid
Assistant Stage Manager / Script PA - Connor Rankin


About the Director

Allie Moss is a first-year MFA student originally from Columbus, Ohio. Prior to attending UCSD, she was based in San Francisco. Bay Area directing credits include Far Away (A.C.T. MFA Program), Restoration Master Reset (Cutting Ball Theater), Cloud 9 and American Hero (Custom Made Theatre Co.), and Hookman (A.C.T. Young Conservatory). Allie also served as the literary manager and casting associate at American Conservatory Theater, where she dramaturged mainstage productions, co-produced A.C.T.'s annual New Strands Festival, wrote A.C.T's policy on casting ethics, cast mainstage shows, and taught audition prep classes for high school, undergraduate, and graduate acting students. Allie has a BA in Theater from Goucher College and is an associate member of SDC.


About The Playwright

Mylan Gray is a recent graduate of Stanford University where he studied Black Studies and Playwriting with Young Jean Lee. He was the recipient of the Kennel Jackson Jr. Departmental Award for his Honors Thesis play, Buried in Blood: an afro-surrealist conjuring, healing ancestral wounds. He was also the 2023 recipient of KCACTF’s Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. Buried in Blood recently received a reading in his hometown of Kansas City. Mylan is a new member of the Tank Theatre’s LIT Council, a playwriting group for Men of Color. He is a 1st-year Playwriting MFA candidate at UC San Diego.