If you had $130,000 to give away, what would you do with it? Well, if you were the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, you'd disburse it amongst three theatres to mount three plays this season.
The Kennedy Center Fund For New American Plays has selected three winners from nearly 100 applicants across the country. As announced by Center president Lawrence J. Wilker, here are the lucky recipients:
John Olive's I Clap My Hands/And With The Echoes It Begins To Rise/The Summer Moon, to be staged at Seattle, WA's A Contemporary Theatre. The play tells of a Japanese survivor of Hiroshima moving to California and partnering with a strong-willed Japanese-American woman.
Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia, to be staged at Dallas Theatre Center, TX. Dreamlandia follows a romance on the Texas-Mexico border.
R. Destro's Hiroshima, which opened Oct. 9 at NY's Theatre For The New City. This expressionistic piece, set to music by Yoko Ono, catches Hiroshima on the day of the WWII bombing.
The Kennedy Center has also announced Syl Jones as the winner of the Roger L. Stevens Award, founded in 1991 to recognize playwrights of "extraordinary promise." Jones will receive $2,500; her play, Black No More, is being produced by the Guthrie Theatre in MN. Since 1986, the Kennedy Center Fund has awarded more than $3.2 million in grants to 86 playwrights and 46 not-for-profit U.S. Theatres. Previous recipients included Tony Kushner's Angels In America and Wendy Wasserstein's Heidi Chronicles.
Judges on this year's panel included Libby Appel (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Andre Bishhop (Lincoln Center Theatre); Tanya Berezin, Michael David, Gordon Davidson (Mark Taper Forum), Ben Edwards, Gerald Freedman, Elinor Fuchs, David Hawkanson, Kenny Leon (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta), Emily Mann (McCarter Theatre, NJ), Mel Shapiro and Robert Whitehead.
--By David Lefkowitz