The American Playwriting Foundation has announced that Aleshea Harris is the recipient of The 2016 Relentless Award, established last year for new plays in honor of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Harris was awarded the prize—which consists of $45,000, as well as development—for her play Is God Is.
The new work is billed as “a revenge tale of twin sisters that takes its cues from the ancient, the modern, the tragic, the spaghetti Western, hip-hop and Afropunk.“ The play explores deviant morality, patricide, familial dysfunction, and the precarious journey from orphaned black girl to womanhood. In addition to Harris receiving the generous cash prize, her play will have staged readings at some of the best theatres in the country. She will also take part in a week-long residency with a cast and director at SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artist residency program housed on an organic farm in Brewster, New York.
More than 2,000 new plays were submitted for the award this year, which was established in 2015 by APF in honor of stage and screen actor Hoffman's “pursuit of truth in the theater.” Only plays that had not yet been produced were eligible for the award. The selection committee included playwrights Eric Bogosian, Thomas Bradshaw, David Bar Katz, Lynn Nottage, John Ortiz, Jonathan Marc Sherman, and Lucy Thurber.
The inaugural Relentless Award in 2015 was shared between Clare Barron, for her play Dance Nation, and Sarah DeLappe, for her play The Wolves. The latter recently played an acclaimed engagement at The Duke on 42nd Street Off-Broadway with direction by Lila Neugebauer.
The American Playwriting Foundation’s artistic advisors are made up of theatre professionals who were all friends and collaborators of Mr. Hoffman, including Peter DuBois, Scott Elliott, Robert Falls, Mandy Greenfeld, Ethan Hawke, Dominique Morisseau, Gregory Mosher, Austin Pendleton, and Yul Vazquez. Laura Ramadei is the director of creative development for The American Playwriting Foundation.
For more information, visit AmericanPlaywritingFoundation.org.