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Samuel French Announces Winners of 2013 Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival

Jacob Coakley • Theatre Buzz • July 29, 2013


The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival received more than 800 submissions, which was narrowed down to 30 finalists who performed for the judges.

The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival received more than 800 submissions, which was narrowed down to 30 finalists who performed for the judges.

Samuel French has announced the winners of their 38th annual Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. The six new plays will be published in Samuel French’s Off Off Broadway anthology, and will be the publishing debut of all six authors. The new plays are: Dancing Turtle, by Thomas M. Atkinson; Tornado, by Arlitia Jones; Tattoo You, by Lisa Kenner; Reality Play, by Mark Swaner; Frisky and the Panda Man, by Ross Howard; and Old Flame, by Mira Gibson.

Samuel French Announces 6 Winners of the 38th Annual Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival

Six short plays have been chosen by Samuel French, Inc. as the winning submissions from the 38th Annual Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, which concluded Sunday, July 28th at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row. The winning pieces are:

DANCING TURTLE by Thomas M. Atkinson, which invites the audience into the inner life of a girl – damaged at birth – that is both painful and glorious, as she navigates the first longings of adulthood during a Native American stomp dance at a local Appalachian Festival; TORNADO by Arlitia Jones about a man trying pick a good team as he buys his son his first football uniform; TATTOO YOU by Lisa Kenner, where two women from the same town, yet with very different backgrounds, re-connect in the bathroom at their 20th high school reunion and their troubled past breaks the cool veneer of the present; REALITY PLAY by Mark Swaner, where an actor explores and questions the authenticity of reality television by appropriating its essential elements in the form of a “play;” FRISKY AND THE PANDA MAN by Ross Howard, about lost love, a lost world, and the last panda; and OLD FLAME by Mira Gibson, where a woman runs into her ex-boyfriend in a grocery store and life collides with what really matters. The plays will be published the annual Off-Off Broadway anthology – which will mark the publishing debut of all six of this year’s winning authors.

From the 860 submissions received for this year’s festival, thirty plays invited to perform last week over the course of four evenings for consideration for the Saturday finals. Following the performances each night, a panel of industry judges in attendance selected one or two pieces to advance to the final performances on Saturday. The finalists this year included: DUDUK? by Sarah Einspanier, FRISKY AND THE PANDA MAN by Ross Howard, OLD FLAME by Mira Gibson, POOR JESSE by Emily Feldman, REALITY PLAY by Mark Swaner, SWEET LIFE by Lina Patel, TATTOO YOU by Lisa Kenner, THE RED BLOOD OF WAR by Celeste Bedford Walker, TORNADO by Arlitia Jones, and DANCING TURTLE by Thomas M. Atkinson.

The industry judges in attendance for the four nights of preliminary judging included: acclaimed playwright Jenny Schwartz (Somewhere Fun, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winning God’s Ear), director Anne Kauffman (Belleville, Maple and Vine) and two time OBIE Award-winner Ken Rus Schmoll, Directors Jason Eagan (Ars Nova) and Carl Andress (The Divine Sister, Die Mommie Die!), Hannah Oren (Transport Group), Director of Artistic Development Emily Morse (New Dramatists), composer and lyricist Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody), actor and playwright Connie Ray (Hands on a Hardbody, Smoke on the Mountain), actress Keala Settle (Tony-Nominee for Hands on a Hardbody), playwright Charles Busch (Tale of the Allergist’s Wife), and producer Tim Pinckney (The Actors Fund).

For descriptions of all of this year’s Final Thirty plays, plus interviews with Festival Playwrights, production photos, and video trailers, please visit:  Biographies and headshots for Festival judges can be found on the Festival website as well.

The Off Off Broadway Festival started in 1975 and is Manhattan’s most established short play festival. Hundreds of theatre companies and schools have participated in the Festival’s first thirty-seven years, including companies from coast to coast and around the world. This Festival has served as a doorway to future success for many aspiring writers. Since its inception, over two hundred plays from the Festival have been published, and many of the participants have become established, award-winning playwrights including Theresa Rebeck, Shirley Lauro, Bekah Brunstetter, Steve Yockey, Daniel Pearle, and Sheila Callaghan.

Samuel French Inc. was founded in 1830 with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and London, and retail bookstores in Hollywood and London making it the oldest and largest publisher and licensor of plays in the world.  With a mission to “make theatre happen”, Samuel French continues to be one of the foremost innovators in the theatrical publishing industry, boasting a catalogue of over 9,000 plays.  Recently acquired titles include some of the most important plays of the 2012-2013 season, including Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, Annie Baker’s The Flick, Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles and Belleville, Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts, and the All-American musical Hands on a Hardbody.

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