The play was first presented by the company Killing My Lobster in San Francisco in June 2006. The award includes a cash prize of $25,000 and was given out March 31 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Michael Hollinger's Opus and Jeff Daniels' Guest Artist were also cited and will receive $7,500 each.
The American Theatre Critics Association presents the annual Steinberg honor for "outstanding new plays produced around the United States, outside of New York City," placing a focus on regional works not often included in the numerous New York-based awards.
Hunter Gatherers "is an inky dark comedy portraying two seemingly civilized couples descending into the chaos of primal urges," according to press notes. Other plays by the San Francisco-based Nachtrieb include Colorado, Meaningless, Multiplex, Self Help and The Amorphous Blob.
Opus premiered in January 2006 at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, in association with City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Guest Artist was first presented in March 2006 at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, MI, where Daniels, the well-known film actor, was the founder and is executive director. Hollinger is an assistant professor of theatre at Villanova University. His plays include Red Herring, Incorruptible, An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Bœuf, Tiny Island and Tooth and Claw.
Daniels, well known for his acting roles in such films as "Terms of Endearment," "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and "The Squid and the Whale," was a finalist for Steinberg/ATCA honors in 2002 for Across the Way. Other plays include Shoe Man, The Tropical Pickle, Thy Kingdom's Coming, Norma & Wanda, The Vast Difference and Escanaba in da Moonlight.
The other finalists for this year's Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards were Catherine Bush for Just a Kiss, Theresa Rebeck for The Scene and Ken LaZebnik for Vestibular Sense.
For this year's award, 25 eligible scripts were submitted by ATCA members, representing over 250 regional media outlets. A committee of 12 professional theatre critics reviewed and selected the finalists.
Last year's winner was Lee Blessing for A Body of Water with citations to the late August Wilson for Radio Golf and Adam Rapp for Red Light Winter.
All prizes are funded by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. For more information visit www.americantheatrecritics.org.