We’re proud to announce the 2020 Blue Ink Playwriting Award to Recent Unsettling Events by Andrea Stolowitz. Featured finalists include Football Football Football Football (or I Love Lave Dash) by Kristoffer Diaz, The Mermaids’ Parade by Gina Femia, and Crying on Television by R. Eric Thomas.
“We’re honored to celebrate the works of these four incredible playwrights in our annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award competition. Their bold voices and relevant themes make them distinct American writers. Due to this unprecedented pandemic, we’ll showcase their scripts electronically and promote these fantastic artists nationally,” notes Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside.
THE MERMAIDS’ PARADE
by Gina Femia
Biron has been deployed to Iraq, and Islande is stuck in Coney Island. A fable of a mermaid connects them both as they are forced to confront their personal horrors in order to try to find one another and themselves during a time of war.
Gina Femia has written over 30 full-length plays which have been developed/produced/seen at MCC, Page 73, Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Rattlestick Theatre, New Georges, Powerhouse, Theatre of NOTE, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Panndora Productions and Project Y, among others. She is a 2019-2022 Core Writer with the Playwrights Center, and a current member of both Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Plays Lab and Parsnip Ship’s Radio Roots Writer’s group. She’s an alum of EST Youngblood, Page 73’s Interstate 73, Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab and New Georges’ Audrey Residency. Gina’s received commissions from EST, Spicy Witch Productions and Retro Theatre Productions and residencies with Page 73, Powerhouse, NTI at the O’Neill, Fresh Ground Pepper and SPACE on Ryder Farm. ALLOND(R)A is included on the 2019 Kilroys List. Winner: Leah Ryan Prize and Doric Wilson Awar
FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL (or I LOVE LAVE DASH)
by Kristoffer Diaz
One professional football team must choose between two potential top draft picks: charismatic multiethnic finesse machine Lave Dash and salt-of-the-earth muscle monster Mervin Gufflinson the First. But when these two young legends join forces, it not only changes the game, but also all sports, and also the whole world, and maybe the entire universe. An insane comedy about masculinity, most likely featuring women.
Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and educator. His play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. His adaptation of the Disney film Hercules premiered in Central Park in Summer 2019 as part of the Joseph Papp Public Theater’s Public Works program with a cast of nearly 200. Other full-length titles include Welcome to Arroyo’s, Reggie Hoops, and The Unfortunates. His work has been produced, commissioned, and developed at The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Geffen Playhouse, ACT, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman, Second Stage, Victory Gardens, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among many others. Awards include the Guggenheim, Jerome, Van Lier, NYFA, and Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowships; New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award; Lucille Lortel, Equity Jeff, and OBIE Awards; and the Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant, among others. As a screenwriter, Kristoffer has developed original television pilots for HBO and FX, written for the first season of Netflix’s GLOW, and adapted the musical Rent for FOX.
Kristoffer holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, an MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing, and an MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performing Arts Management program. He teaches playwriting at New York University. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a member of its Board of Directors, a member of the Dramatists Guild Council, and a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East.
RECENT UNSETTLING EVENTS – 2020 Blue Ink Playwriting Award
by Andrea Stolowitz
A small liberal arts college erupts in protests over its required Western Civilization class. As the fights intensify and the entire campus takes sides, the complexities of identity politics, the limits of free speech, and the consequences of preserving the status quo are examined. The play takes its inspiration from real-life events.
Andrea Stolowitz’s plays have been developed and presented nationally and internationally at theaters such as The Long Wharf, The Old Globe, The Cherry Lane, and New York Stage and Film. Andrea’s latest play Recent Unsettling Events is an Artists’ Repertory Theatre Commission, the winner of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild’s New Play Prize, and is a semi-finalist for the 2020 O’Neill summer conference. Andrea’s play The Berlin Diaries is a recipient of the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Women’s Film, TV and Theatre Fund. The play will be produced in New York City in March 2021. The Berlin Diaries was presented at English Theater Berlin/International Performing Arts Center and Portland’s Hand2Mouth Theatre Company. It was developed at The Playwrights’ Center, New Dramatists, PlayPenn, and The New Harmony Project. A recipient of Artists Repertory Theater’s Fowler/Levin new play commission, Andrea premiered her play Ithaka at the theatre in 2013. The play had its mid-west premiere in Chicago in 2014 at InFusion Theater and its Canada premiere in May 2016. The play won the 2015 Oregon Book Award in Drama judged by Naomi Iizuka. Andrea works as a collaborating writer with the award-winning devised company Hand2Mouth Theatre . Their current collaboration Pep Talk is touring nationally. Andrea is the Lacroute Playwright-in-Residence at Artists Repertory Theater, a member of New Dramatists class of 2024, and a core member at The Playwrights’ Center. An MFA playwriting alumna of UC-San Diego, Andrea has served on the faculties at Willamette University, The University of Portland, Duke University and UC-San Diego.
CRYING ON TELEVISION
by R. Eric Thomas
Four strangers; one apartment building; unlimited channels. After a chance meeting in the elevator of an apartment building, Mackenzie, a video editor, realizes that she’s seen Ellison somewhere before. Namely as a contestant on a reality dating show 10 years earlier. Struck by the girl she remembers from the decade-old clip, Mackenzie decides they should be friends and quickly gets caught up in an escalating series of hijinks to make that happen in this platonic romcom. Mackenzie’s quest pulls in Chris, her brother’s ex who is doing his best to be a weird loner, Taffy, an amateur sleuth who never met a stranger, and Kenley, a praise and worship leader at Chris’ church who seems to have figured out life’s greatest mystery: how to make friends as an adult.
R. Eric Thomas, an author and playwright, won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award and was a finalist for the 2017 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. He is the recipient of a 2017/2018 National New Play Network Commission and has also been commissioned or produced by Arden Theatre Company, Simpatico Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Single Carrot Theatre, About Face Theatre, City Theatre Miami, Act II Playhouse and more. He is also the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia and D.C. and a Senior Staff Writer for Elle.com where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column with hundreds of thousands of monthly readers. His debut memoir-in-essays, HERE FOR IT, was published by Ballantine Books in February 2020 and was hailed by Lin-Manuel Miranda as “pop culture-obsessed, David Sedaris-level laugh-out-loud funny.” Recent productions include SAFE SPACE (Single Carrot Theatre), MRS HARRISON (Azuka Theatre, Barrymore nomination – Best New Play), MIRIAM1234 (City Theatre Miami) and TIME IS ON OUR SIDE (About Face Theatre & Simpatico Theatre). He is an alumnus of The Foundry, the Lambda Literary Fellowship, and the Ingram New Works Project.
Additional 2020 Blue Ink Playwriting Award winners include:
Finalists: Jennifer Barclay (Housebound), Stephen Brown (The Candidate), Marisa Carr (Punk Rock Mix Tape Play), Franky Gonzalez (Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes), Kristin Idaszak, Lily Kelting, Kate Jopson, & Regan Linton (Eleven Months), Zizi Majid (Return to Fall), Dino Mintu (209), Susan Pak (Miguk Saram), Andrew Rosendorf (Cottontail), Caridad Svich (Arbor Falls), Kurt Weitzmann (In Gods We Trust), Nathan Yungerberg (Abuelita).
Semi-finalists: Bret Angelos (American Whoknew), Bennett Ayres (Bombs and Guns), Mike Bencivenga (Compromised), Amy Berryman (The New Galileos), Darcy Bruce (The Place That Made You), Lilly Camp (All Eight), Toccara Castleman (“Maybe a Mexican”), Dolores Diaz (The Curse of Giles Corey), Reginald Edmund (All the Dying Voices), Taylor Geu (Passing Over), Allison Gregory (Lulu in Rochester), Amina Henry (Columbus Street), Kyle McCloskey (Where the Lovelight Gleams), Matthew Paul Olmos (the broken hearts of a corrupted white house), Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Bloom), Brant Russell (Bankers), Phillip Christian Smith (We Can’t Breathe), Peter Snoad (Seeing Violet), Thomas W. Stephens (Paddy’s Pot), Joe Sutton (Enough is Enough), Caity-Shea Violette (Credible), Carl Williams (Unfinished Puzzles), LaDarrion Williams (Black Creek Risin’), Brad McKnight Wilson (Nebalah), Amy E. Witting (Day 392), Kit Yan & Simone Wolff (Mr. Transman).
About the Blue Ink Playwriting Award
The annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award was created in 2010 to support new work. Since inception, American Blues Theater has named 10 Award winners, 79 finalists, and 109 semi-finalists. American Blues will award more than $6,000 in cash and prizes for 2020.
Each year American Blues Theater accepts worldwide submissions of original, unpublished full-length plays. The winning play is selected by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and the theater’s Ensemble. The winning playwright receives a monetary prize of $1,250. Finalists and semi-finalists are also awarded cash prizes.
Submissions for the 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award open July 1, 2020. All submissions must be received by American Blues Theater by August 31, 2020 at 11:59pm. Playwrights may only submit one (1) manuscript each year for consideration.