ATLANTA: The Alliance Theatre has announced that it will showcase the finalists of the 16th Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition by making all four scripts available to the public to read between April 9 and 24. The Alliance will host a free Virtual Play Club series to invite the public to discuss the scripts with the playwrights, and the series will culminate with an artists roundtable discussion moderated by Rachel Karpf, the former artistic producer of WP Theater.
The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA graduate programs across the U.S. Four plays are selected as finalists, and one winning play will receive a full production as part of the Alliance Theatre’s mainstage season. The finalists will also receive developmental support.
This year’s finalists include Unkindness by Logan Faust (NYU Tisch), inspired by Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, the Bible, and Bonnie and Clyde. The play follows a grieving mother and a would-be prophet as they struggle to survive after their motivations for survival are taken away from them. Faust will join director Matt Torney and associate producer Amanda Watkins for a Virtual Play Club conversation on April 16.
Next will be Djarum Vanilla by Cary Simowitz (UCLA), about an unlikely friendship between a 21-year-old Black man and a 17-year-old white girl that forms 10 miles away from Ferguson, where the Black Lives Matter movement gains traction ahead of the Darren Wilson verdict in 2014. Simowitz, director Keith Bolden, and Watkins will discuss the play on April 17.
Monster by Ava Geyer (UCSD), about a self-help guru whose compulsive masturbation comes to light. Director January LaVoy and Watkins will join Geyer in conversation on April 23.
Following will be Stitched With a Sickle and a Hammer by Inna Tsyrlin (Ohio University), about a political prisoner at a Gulag camp forced to help Soviet authorities disguise the existence of the camp in front of a visiting American delegation, all while preparing for the camp’s theatre troupe production of The Seagull. The Virtual Play Club conversation will include Tsyrlin, director Lauren Morris, and Watkins on April 24.
The Artists Roundtable Discussion will be held April 24. All virtual events are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required so that each link to the live conversation may be emailed to participants.