Canada's richest playwriting awards, the Chalmers New Canadian Play Awards, have announced their finalists, ten shows in the adult category out of a field of 44 and five in the Theatre for Young Audience category.
Six winners (four adult, two youth) will each take home $25,000 at a big party on May 25. The Chalmers Foundation has upped the prizes from $10,000 for the first time this year.
In the adult category, all three of George F. Walker's plays that form the first part of his Suburban Motel Trilogy are on the list, as is Djanet Sears' exquisite Harlem Duet Lee McDougall's hilarious High Life, David Young's phenomenally ambitious Inexpressible Island, Carole Frechette's complex and haunting Four Lives of Marie and Daniel McIvor's profoundly moving The Soldier Dreams.
And what's especially exciting is that among this group of mostly experienced playwrights and ambitious scripts (MacDougall is the only neophyte), are two tiny gems by two veterans of the fringe and small theatre communitys. Each piece is a monologue and each reaches out to make for a perfect and complete theatrical experience. They are David Rubinoff's Stuck and Michael Healey's Kicked. Both began as fringe festival shows and have gone on to further productions as part of the main theatre season.
And just for the record, Playbill's Canada Correspondent is a Juror for the Awards. By Mira Friedlander