The contest, officially titled The National "Play Right" M.F.A. 10-Minute Play Competition & Program, is run by the Aspen-based theatre company Theater Masters.
Take Ten, a presentation of the winning works, will go up on Jan. 21 and 23 as part of the Wonder Weekend festival, created for the contest in partnership with the Aspen Institute, a think tank.
The playwrights will be flown to Aspen and will participate in panel discussions and workshops of their plays. Theater Masters hopes to remount Take Ten in New York, and in Philadelphia in conjunction with the theatre company EgoPo.
The graduate playwriting programs participating are Brown, Columbia, New York University, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Iowa University, University of Texas at Austin, University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at San Diego.
The schools have required their graduate students to write a ten-minute play for the contest. Guare, along with Julia Hansen (the artistic director of Theater Masters) and Lane Savadove (the artistic director of EgoPo) are selecting one play from each of the ten schools to stage in Take Ten. As part of the festival, The Aspen Institute will present a public forum entitled "Contemporary Playwriting in America" on Jan. 20.
The directors for Top Ten will be selected from among the alumni of the Directors Project, a support program for directors founded by Hansen.
Guare's plays include House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, Four Baboons Adoring the Sun, A Few Stout Individuals, Landscape of the Body, Chaucer in Rome, Lydie Breeze, Marco Polo Sings a Solo and the upcoming A Free Man of Color, which will be staged at the Public Theater. He won a Tony Award for his book to the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona and was nominated for his book to Sweet Smell of Success.
For more information on Theater Masters visit www.theatermasters.org.