Winners Announced at 35th Annual Samuel French Short Play Fest

By Thomas Peter
July 20, 2010

Six plays were chosen as the winners of the 35th Annual Samuel French, Inc. Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, which ended July 18 at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row.

The plays will be published by Samuel French in a collection available this fall or winter, and will also be licensed for production by the company.

The winning scripts are:

Skin Deep
By Mary Lynn Dobson
"A scathing comedy about the world of child beauty pageants."

Pigskin
By Gabriel Jason Dean
"A high school football star and son of a North Carolina preacher has a secret that won't make daddy proud ­ and he¹s aching to tell."

White Embers
By Saviana Stanescu
"East confronts West in this thriller about international adoptions and how they can impact a child's life."

The Bear (A Tragedy)
By EJC Calvert
"In their Durang-esque absurdity, a couple must negotiate their marriage after the unexpected result of Everett¹s secret hunting excursions."

Dance Lessons
By Josh Koenigsberg
"Diner employees Sue and Norm get ready for another dreary day of dreary work in a dreary world - until Norm reveals that he¹s secretly been taking dance lessons."

The Mud Is Thicker In Mississippi
By Dennis A. Allen II
"In this racially-charged black comedy, Dwight gets stuck neck deep in mud and is forced to change his ways or become part of the landscape."

Forty plays (selected from nearly 900 submissions) were performed over the week-long preliminary rounds in the festival, with 14 selected as finalists and performed again July 18. In addition to the six winners, the other finalists included Europeans Kiss on Three Cheeks by Tom Grady, Climb the Smallest Mountain by Michael Gordon Shapiro, The Magician and the Memory by Michael Vukadinovich, The Indicent Report by E.M. Lewis, Flood by Kirby Fields, The Pen Is Mightier (Than the Word) by Joshua J. Cole, Fan-Boy by Megan Sass and A Map of Our Country by Andrew Kramer.

The rotating panel of guest judges at the festival consisted of playwrights Tina Howe (Painting Churches, Coastal Disturbances, Chasing Manet), Craig Lucas (Small Tragedy, Light in the Piazza, Reckless, Prayer for my Enemy), Jim Brochu (Zero Hour, The Big Voice: God or Merman?), Deborah Zoe Laufer (End Days, Last Schwartz, Out of Sterno), David Adjmi (Stunning) and Carmen Rivera (La Gringa); and theatrical agents and artistic directors including Joseph Rosswog (The Gersh Agency), Buddy Thomas (International Creative Management), Antje Oegel (AO International), Morgan Jenness (Abrams Artists Agency), Corinne Hayoun (Creative Artists Agency), Scott Edwards (Harden-Curtis Associates), Jason Eagan (Ars Nova), Steve Stettler (Weston Playhouse), David Saint (George Street Playhouse), Jeff Zinn (Wellfleet Harbor Theatre), Frances Hill (Urban Stages) and Cara Reichel (Prospect Theatre Company).

Founded in 1975, the Samuel French, Inc. Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival is the oldest continuous short play festival in New York City. Notable playwrights whose work has been seen in the festival include Theresa Rebeck, Shirley Lauro, Bekah Brunstetter, Steve Yockey, David Johnston and Sheila Callaghan.

For more information, including how to submit plays for the 2011 Short Play Festival, visit samuelfrench.com.