Nate Santana and Lusia Strus in "Ironbound" at Steppenwolf Theatre. (Photo by Emily Schwartz)

Aurora’s GAP Winners Are Don Nguyen, Jonathan Spector and Martyna Majok

Now entering its 10th year, the Aurora Theatre’s prize for “forward-looking” plays also takes a moment to look back on past successes.

BERKELEY, CALIF.: Aurora Theatre Company has announced the three winners of its Global Age Project (GAP), the company’s new-works initiative designed to promote “the creation of forward-looking theatre” and to “encourage playwrights to address life in the 21st century and beyond.” The winners are Red Flamboyant by Don Nguyen, FTW by Jonathan Spector and Ironbound by Martyna Majok.

Don Nguyen.
Don Nguyen.

The winning selections will be presented as stage readings in a four-week festival hosted by the Aurora, Feb. 9-Mar. 2. The festival will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the GAP project, and will feature original cast-member reunions for Aurora shows Joel Drake Johnson’s The First Grade, Allison Moore’s Collapse and Anthony Clarvoe’s Our Practical Heaven.

Nguyen, Sector and Majok will each receive a $1,000 prize and travel expenses, and all three playwrights will receive additional consideration of their work for future developments and productions at the Aurora Theatre.

Jonathan Spector.
Jonathan Spector.

“We received almost 250 play submissions and are excited to present new works from two playwrights who call the east coast home, Martyna Majok and Don Nguyen, and a playwright who resides in our own backyard, former GAP director and prize winner Jonathan Spector,” said Tom Ross, Aurora’s artistic director, in a statement.

In Nguyen’s Red Flamboyant, a group of women all come down with the same medical condition in modern-day Vietnam. The show’s main heroine, a Mrs. Hue, is forced to seek help for those suffering from the disease, which appears to be a hopeless task until outside forces come into play.

Martyna Majok.
Martyna Majok. (Photo by Joel Moorman)

Spector’s FTW is the story of grad student, Colleen, who’s a participant in Teach for America, and Simone, who has just begun a job at Google in West Oakland, Calif. After graduating from college, the two friends decide to move in together but must soon face the complicated situations that can come from living with a friend.

In Ironbound, Majok takes audiences through the life of Darja, a Polish immigrant who somehow finds herself returning to the same bus stop in a dilapidated New Jersey town. Throughout the show’s timeline, which spans 22 years, Darja is involved in several relationships which ultimately force her to choose who can offer her love or security, but never both at the same time.

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