Playwright Kira Obolensky has won the 1998 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting for her work Lobster Alice. The prize carries a $10,000 award. Erik Ehn won $2,000 as an honorable mention winner for his play, Beginner.
The 18th annual prize will be presented to Obolensky on Nov. 22 at New York's National Arts Club. At that time, a reading of Lobster Alice will take place, directed by Michael Parva. A reception and dinner will follow.
The surreal play, packed with wild images, concerns painter Salvador Dali's notion to create an animated film of "Alice in Wonderland." It is apparently inspired by a true story about Dali's visit to an animation studio.
Obolensky, a Williams College graduate, has also penned The Adventures of Herculina and The Whalebone Sonata.
The judges this year were Lincoln Center dramaturg Anne Cattaneo; playwright John Guare and theatre critic Nancy Franklin (of The New Yorker). The awards are named for Joseph Otto Kesselring, author of Arsenic and Old Lace.
Previous winners have included Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare, Amy Freed's The Psychic Life of Savages, Doug Wright's Quills, Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls, Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror and Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.
On Nov. 23, a Kesselring gala will be hosted by librettist-screenwriter Peter Stone (Titanic) at the NAC. A presentation of short new works by past winners will take place, culminating with actors Simon Jones, Maria Tucci and Robert LuPone performing a 27-character one-act by Kushner.
The nonprofit National Arts Club, devoted to promoting the arts through its annual Medal of Honor awards, prizes, scholarships and grants, is in its 100th year.
The presentation is produced by Susan Charlotte, Antony Marsellis and Josephine Abady.