1998 Kesselring Playwriting Award Presented Nov. 22 in NY; Past Winners Feted Nov. 23

News   1998 Kesselring Playwriting Award Presented Nov. 22 in NY; Past Winners Feted Nov. 23
 
Playwright Kira Obolensky will be handed the $10,000 1998 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting for her work Lobster Alice at a reception Nov. 22.

Playwright Kira Obolensky will be handed the $10,000 1998 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting for her work Lobster Alice at a reception Nov. 22.

The National Arts Club administers the prize, given to an emerging playwright whose work may not be widely known. Erik Ehn won $2,000 as honorable-mention winner for his play, Beginner.

The 18th annual prize will be presented at New York's National Arts Club. At that time, a reading of Lobster Alice will take place, directed by Michael Parva. A reception and dinner will follow.

A gala the following day, Nov. 23, will celebrate the Kesselring Prize with readings of short works or excerpts by past prize winners, including a 27-character one-act by Tony Kushner read by three actors.

The surreal Lobster Alice, packed with wild images, concerns painter Salvador Dali's notion to create an animated film of "Alice in Wonderland." It is apparently inspired by a true story about Dali's visit to an animation studio. Obolensky, a Williams College graduate, has also penned The Adventures of Herculina and The Whalebone Sonata.

The judges this year were Lincoln Center dramaturg Anne Cattaneo; playwright John Guare and theatre critic Nancy Franklin (of The New Yorker).

The awards are named for Joseph Otto Kesselring, author of Arsenic and Old Lace.

Previous winners have included Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare, Amy Freed's The Psychic Life of Savages, Doug Wright's Quills, Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls, Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror and Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.

On Nov. 23, the Kesselring gala will be hosted by librettist-screenwriter Peter Stone (Titanic) at the NAC. A presentation of short new works by past winners will culminating with actors Simon Jones, Maria Tucci and Robert LuPone performing a 27-character one-act by Kushner. Other playwrights represented by readings will be Susan Charlotte, Nicky Silver and Lynn Alvarez.

The nonprofit National Arts Club, devoted to promoting the arts through its annual Medal of Honor awards, prizes, scholarships and grants, is in its 100th year.

The presentation is produced by Susan Charlotte, Antony Marsellis and Josephine Abady.

-- By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson

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