Three American plays and their producing theatre companies have been awarded grants from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. The Fund also bestowed its Roger L. Stevens Award for a "playwright whose work shows extraordinary promise." The total amount of grants awarded was $132,500.
This year's recipients, chosen from nearly 100 applicants, are:
John Olive's I Clap My Hands/ And With Echoes It Begins To Rise/The Summer
Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre (ACT)
In this drama about international relations and the American Dream, a young Japanese man, who has survived the bombing of Hiroshima, comes to California in the late 60's to sell cars. Struggling to adapt to new "American" business practices, the man is haunted by his family's past and the memory of his homeland.
Olive receives a $10,000 grant, while ACT receives $25,000.
Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia
Dallas Theater Center
Dreamlandia is a contemporary tale inspired by Calderon de la Barca's La Vida es Esueno. Lazaro spends his childhood on an island in the middle of the Rio Grande, while Blanca has grown up on the south shore of the river. The death of Blanca's mother and the political career of Lazaro's father bring the two together, but family is also what sets them apart. Solis receives a $10,000 grant and Dallas Theater Center receives a $50,000.
Ron Destro's Hiroshima
NYC's Theater for the New City
Also exploring the destruction caused by atomic bombs, Hiroshima features characters expressing a range of emotions through devices such a Hara Tamiki's "Essay on Man," haiku poetry and origami. The production employs a multi-cultural cast of twenty actors and is scored by former Fluxus-ite, Yoko Ono.
Destro receives a $10,000 grant, while Theater for the New City receives $25,000.
Syl Jones' play, Black No More, is the recipient of the Roger L. Stevens Award and will be produced by the Guthrie Theatre.
Now in its 11th year, the Fund has awarded grants totalling $3.2 million dollars to such plays as Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Robert Schenkkan's The Kentucky Cycle, and Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles.
-- By Sean McGrath