Despite having different takes on Hollywood — Zimmerman, who has directed for television, has a more congenial relationship with Hollywood — both agree that Los Angeles is a great place for theater. But while “most theater is actor-oriented, Padua has always been playwright-oriented. It’s a playwrights’ organization for playwrights,” says Mednick.
Is the city ready to support this latest reincarnation of the festival? “We have a more secure financial base,” Zimmerman says. “It’s dangerous to talk about it, but we plan on four productions a year, a combination of the old and new Padua.”
The new home at 2100 Square Feet is a more traditional performance space than the outdoor sites of previous years. Mednick noted that the audience will no longer have to suffer through the great outdoors, where ambient sound can be a distraction. (More than a few patrons and participants remember the winds whipping through many a Padua performance, particularly at Northridge.)
The real test is whether Padua can transcend its own legend and again become a vital force in Los Angeles theater. Rogers, with a catch in her voice, says, “Everybody really missed Padua. We have been empty and alone without this tribe, so we really want to make a go of it this time.”