Concluding a year of reviewing and scoring new scripts for full-length and one-act plays, Brevard Little Theatre's New-Play Committee has selected the winners of the first annual competition. The Best New Play (full-length) is Heartening of the Artistries, by Fred King, of Westminster, Maryland. King has written numerous plays since creating his first script while serving overseas in the Army. He was born and raised in Queens, New York, where his father was a Lutheran pastor. Summer vacations brought the family back each year to Carroll County, Maryland, where his immigrant great-grandfather had settled during the Civil War, and where Fred King resides today. As an antsy, bored fifteen-year-old, encouraged by his exasperated mother to "chill," he was placed in front of a TV screen one rainy afternoon to view the film version of Kaufman and Hart's You Can't Take It With You.He says that Frank Capra (the film's director) "grabbed me and never let me go." Military service in Verona, Italy, introduced him to theater people and to an opportunity to write a first play which, because of Army scheduling, fell just short of being produced. His plays, all unproduced, include Amicus Zaboki, The Cherry Tree Business and Steeplechase Whispers.While not writing scripts, Mr. King is a computer graphics technician. His winning script in the BLT competition will be produced next May, at the Barn Theater.
The Best New One-Act Play in the competition is Mourning The Marigolds, by Sheryle Criswell, of Lauderhill, Florida. As well as being a writer and a free-lance director, Ms. Criswell is a drama teacher and director of the Coral Springs Institute in Coral Springs, Florida. She and her husband, Alan, have just relocated in Florida, after living in Durham, NC, for 15 years while she taught Drama to children in K-8th grades in Chapel Hill, NC. She has been involved with theater for 25 years, as a teacher, director, playwright and costume designer, both in North Carolina and in Westchester, New York. In New York, she founded and directed the Town of Bedford Arts Center and later the Northern Westchester YM-YWHA Cultural Arts Program. In North Carolina, Sheryle was the founding president of Odyssey Stage in Chapel Hill, where she held office for five years before her move to Florida. The author of 28 plays, she has won numerous awards for her playwriting, among them; the Charles M. Getchell Southeastern Theatre Conference New-Play Award, an award at the Charlotte Repertory Theatre's Festival of New Plays and, twice, awards at the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest. Her plays have been produced across the U.S., in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in England. Some of her plays have been published by Southern Theatre Magazine and in an anthology by Dramatic Publishing, Inc. Besides writing for the stage, Ms. Criswell is the author of four middle-grade children's novels and one young-adult novel. One of her children's books will be published in 2005 by Writer's Exchange. She is also an award-winning artist, with one of her works hanging in the permanent collection at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
There were 68 new scripts submitted in this first annual BLT New-Play Competition, and they came from thirteen different States. A total of eight members of BLT read and scored them, in what turned out to be a close competition in both the full-length and one-act categories. The names of these first two winners are being inscribed on permanent plaques to be displayed in the lobby of the Barn Theater, and each of these playwrights receives a check for $200. A gala "premiere presentation" event is planned for the month of May, 2005.
Heartening of the Artistries by Fred King Barn Theater, May 27 - June 5, 2005