Clarence Coo's Beautiful Province, About a Boy's Journey to Canada With His Teacher, Wins Yale Drama Series
By Michael Gioia
Playwright Clarence Coo will be presented with the Yale Drama Series Award Sept. 18 at Lincoln Center Theater's Claire Tow Theater. He receives $10,000 and a reading of his work, Beautiful Province; the play will also be published by the Yale University Press.
Playwright John Guare and Francine Horn, founder of the David Charles Horn Foundation, will present Coo with the $10,000 David Charles Horn Prize for Beautiful Province, which was chosen by Guare from over 1,100 plays submitted from 24 countries. A reading, directed by Cosmin Chivu, will immediately follow at the newly opened Claire Tow.
Beautiful Province is "the story of a road trip across Canada taken by a 15-year-old boy and his French high school teacher." Coo developed his play at the Inkwell's Inkubator Series and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
His other work has been produced or developed at the New York International Fringe Festival, Mu Performing Arts, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Round House Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, the Young Playwrights Festival and the Kennedy Center. He was an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow at Arena Stage, a recipient of the Larry Neal Writers' Award, and a social media writer for the 2010 and 2011 Tony Awards. He received his MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University, where he studied under Charles Mee, and is currently the program administrator of the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia's School of the Arts.
Runners-up for the 2012 Yale Drama Series were Saviana Stanescu, for her play Useless, and Jesse Weaver, for his play We Shall Catch Larks.
Additionally, Horn has announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman will succeed Guare as the judge of the series. She joins a group of playwrights that, in addition to Guare, includes David Hare and Edward Albee, all of whom have served as the series' sole playwright judge for a two year-period.
Norman will choose the 2013 winner, which will be announced this spring.
"We are truly happy to welcome Marsha Norman on board as the judge of next year's competition," said Horn in a statement. "Foundations are not built alone, they are based on partnerships. How fortunate are we to have had the Yale Press as a partner. We were even more fortunate to have as our first playwright-judge Edward Albee. His endorsement made it easier to approach our second judge David Hare, who opened doors for us on both sides of the Atlantic. And I can't thank our third, John Guare, enough for his commitment, not to only find the best of the best, last year from over 1100 submissions, but also for introducing us to the most gracious host imaginable - Lincoln Center Theater."
Norman added, "I am thrilled and honored to follow in the footsteps of my friend, John Guare, in judging the Yale Prize. I am eager to listen to a whole new group of writers, and am mightily impressed by the fact that over 1,000 plays have been received."
Norman won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner and Drama Desk Award for her play 'Night, Mother, won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her book for the musical The Secret Garden and received a Tony nomination for the book for the musical The Color Purple. Her other plays include Getting Out, Third and Oak and The Laundromat.
Now in its sixth year, the Yale Drama Series is an annual international competition, funded by the David Horn Foundation, which is open to emerging playwrights who are invited to submit original, unpublished and unproduced full-length English-language plays for consideration. Submissions for the 2013 Yale Drama Series Award, which will be announced this spring, are now closed.
For more information about the contest, visit YalePress.yale.edu/ypubooks/drama.asp.
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