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Playwrights Announced for 2019 Finish Line Commission

Plays by Leah Nanako Winkler, Kate Hamill, and Herbert Siguenza will receive a staged reading at Cygnet Theatre.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF.: Cygnet Theatre has announced the plays of Leah Nanako Winkler, Kate Hamill, and Herbert Siguenza as the recipients of this year’s Finish Line — a Bill and Judy Garrett Commission. The winning plays will each be given a week long workshop culminating in a free public reading to take place Feb. 17-18 at Cygnet Theatre. The playwrights will additionally receive a financial reward and the potential for their plays to have a world premiere production at Cygnet.

Leah Nanako Winkler. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

“I read many plays to make sure we selected playwrights that represent a wide range of diverse voices that fit Cygnet’s mission,” said Cygnet artistic director Rob Lutfy in a statement. “Voices that don’t fit into a boxes that are easily checked off, but instead, create their own box. The footprint of this program is to allow writers to work on their dream play.”

Nanako Winkler’s Diversity Awareness Picnic (Feb. 17) follows six employees of a university’s tele-fundraising department facing tension, anger, true love, and candid speaking when they’re forced to participate in diversity awareness activity. Jesca Prunencio will direct the reading.

The Prostitute Play (Feb. 18) by Hamill is loosely based on the life of Harriette Wilson, a famous courtesan in mid-1800s England. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Victorian era, The Prostitute Play is about a courtesan attempting to receive a long promised annuity from one of England’s most powerful men and the conflict that ensues. Rob Lufty will direct the reading.

Siguenza’s Bad Hombres/Good Wives (Feb. 17) draws inspiration from Molière’s The School of Wives, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. A classic farce set in modern-day Sinaloa, Mexico, Bad Hombres/Good Wives deals with issues of gender inequality, gender fluidity, and marriage. Daniel Jáquez will direct the reading.

A public reception will be held on Feb. 17, and each of the readings will be followed by a post-show forum with the playwright and creative team.

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