United Solo Festival Honors Fiona Shaw, Gordon Clapp and Eric Roberts
By Carey Purcell
The United Solo Theatre Festival, which began Oct. 3, presented its annual awards at its closing ceremony Nov. 24.
The festival presented drama, comedy, storytelling, stand-up, avant-garde and mime performances throughout its eight-week lineup, including more than 120 productions.
Tony nominee Fiona Shaw (Medea, The Testament of Mary) was presented with the 2013 United Solo Special Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the art of solo performance and for promoting this theatrical form to local and international audiences. Deborah Warner, Shaw's director in The Testament of Mary, attended the ceremony as well.
Among the festival's winners: Best Production went to A. M. Dolan's Robert Frost: This Verse Business. Eliza Roberts and Eric Roberts were honored with Best Direction for Beneath My Fathers' Sky by Zara Phillips. Best Actor went to Jim Shankman for his performance in Kiss Your Brutal Hands, and Best Actress went to Maura Halloran in Pussy.
United Solo's mission also includes public service to the broader theatre community, and each year donations are collected for The Actors Fund. At the ceremony, a check for $1,420 was presented to David Engelman, communications director of the Fund.
"We are tremendously grateful to the producers of this year's United Solo Festival and their audiences. Their donations will help in preventing evictions, securing medical care, putting food on the table and meeting many other needs of our colleagues who are facing difficult times," Actors Fund CEO Joseph Benincasa said in a statement.
The best scripts presented at this year's United Solo will be included in a special collection at Indie Theater Now, a digital library of theatrical plays.
Submissions for next year's United Solo will be announced in 2014 at the festival's website. A complete list of winners and more information can be found by visiting unitedsolo.org.
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