Film and stage star Glenn Close announced the tie Feb. 11 in New York City — both Susan Miller's A Map of Doubt and Rescue and Gina Gionfriddo's U.S. Drag are the receipients of the 2002 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The playwrights will split the $10,000 cash prize.
This is Miller's third Blackburn Prize. She also won it in 1980 for Nasty Rumors and Final Remarks and in 1995 for My Left Breast. A 1997 graduate of Brown University's MFA Playwrighting program, Gionfriddo's work includes 1999'sGuinevere.
A Map of Doubt and Rescue shows how seemingly random persons (employees of a small-town newspaper and a Hollywood studio) are connected to one another in the mysterious patterns of life. The play received productions in Cinncinati and at Vassar, where Tony winner Frank Wood starred.
Set in New York City, U.S. Drag premiered at Off-off-Broadway's HERE in June. In the black comedy, a serial killer named Ed stalks denizens of the Big Apple using a plea for help as his method of capture. A group called SAFE (Stay Away From ED) adopts rudeness as protection against the monster.
Julie Jordan's Our Boy was the Honorable Mention. Jordan's credits include Nightswim and the short musical, The Mice, a part of the larger piece, three. Her Tatjana in Color was shortlisted for the Blackburn Prize in 1997. The $500-winning finalists were Kay Asdhead's The Bogus Woman, Rukhsana Ahmad's River on Fire, Julia Cho's 99 Histories, Amy Freed's The Beard of Avon, Carey Perloff's The Colossus of Rhodes, Kelly Stuart's Mayhem and Tracey Scott Wilson's The Story.
Past Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner include Wendy Wassestein's The Heidi Chronicles and Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare.
— By Christine Ehren