Quad-Cities Theatre Workshop Names Glaspell Playwriting Winners
The QC Theatre Workshop in Davenport may not be presenting live plays before audiences, but it has named winners in its fourth-annual Susan Glaspell Playwriting Festival. And they’re recording videos of staged readings of each.
Starting this weekend, the Workshop will release recordings of each of the three winners, one per week. The first is a national runner-up, “She’s Fabulous” by Jack Neary, featuring the acting of Susan Perrin-Sallak and Patti Flaherty, directed by Luke Peterson.
It’s described as a play “about two women bickering about a woman who got a part of them, and everything else possible.” Neary is a playwright and director whose plays have been produced all over the United States, Canada, Paris and Saudi Arabia.
Out of 72 entries nationwide in the 10-minute play contest, the QCTW chose as the Glaspell winner “Even When It Is Not Shining,” by Maxim Vinogradov, set in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. A woman meets with her doctor to discuss the health of her unborn baby during the Nazi occupation.
Vinogradov is the Michigan-born son of Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union. A playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor, his notable plays include “A Night of Stars with Tennessee Williams” and “Lost in 3 Pines.”
He is an alumnus of the University of Michigan’s creative writing and screenwriting programs, where he graduated with high honors. Residencies include the Slipstream Theatre Initiative, The Kennedy Center, and The O’Neill. He formerly worked on the production team of The Public Theater.
The other QCTW runner-up was “Miss Le Gallienne Announces the New Season,” by Carolyn Gage, a play about Eva Le Gallienne (1899-1991), a real-life theater artist who survived a gas explosion, announcing the season at her new theater and struggling to stay in the moment.
Gage is an actor, theatrical director and author. She has written 12 books and over 75 plays, musicals, and one-woman shows. A lesbian feminist, her work emphasizes non-traditional roles for women and lesbian characters.
Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) – a Davenport native — was a journalist, author, actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, the second woman to win it for drama in 1931 for “Alison’s House.” In summer 2016, Davenport playwright Aaron Randolph III (now QCTW artistic director) adapted and directed her “Inheritors.”
She founded the Provincetown Players, one of the first great American theaters, which launched the careers of such luminaries as Eugene O’Neil, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Theodore Dreiser. In her works, “Glaspell often challenged gender roles and featured strong, well-written female characters that drove the action of the play – a rarity in her own time as much as it is now,” according to qctheatreworkshop.org.
Though the Workshop usually has contest categories for local playwrights and local youth, they didn’t have enough submissions to either of the local categories to declare a winner, so only had winners in the national category, Randolph said.
The prizes were $500 to the national winner, and $100 to each-runner up. The recordings will be available on the QCTW Facebook page.