Chapters of a Floating Life follows two couples from China as they struggle to make ends meet after World War II in their New York City homes. One couple, living uptown, struggle to make peace with the artistry of the past, while the other struggle to keep their Chinatown restaurant in business. After a chance meeting in Central Park, their lives converge through the power of the Chinese language.
As the winner of the 2023 competition, Coo will receive a $10,000 award, and the $10,000 Jay Harris Commission to write his next play. His work will also receive a reading at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.
The L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award is named for the theatrical attorney of the same name, who championed new playwrights. Previous recipients have included Mike Lew for his play tiny father (2022), John J. Caswell, Jr. for Wet Brain (2021), and Sanaz Toossi for English (2020).
Submissions for the award are invitation only: the four other finalists for the 2023 competition are Jordans by Ife Olujobi, Sperm Donor Wanted (or, The Unnamed Baby Play) by TJ Young, The Door (The Senior Sex Play) by Jessica Dickey, and Trojan Women by Lauren Gunderson. The 2023 judges were Allyson Tucker-Mitchell, Albert Park, and Maggie Burrows.