"A Talented Woman" @ Dennis Union Church
When: Fri Mar 22nd
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Where: Dennis Union Church | Gertrude Lawrence Stage | 713 Route 6A | Dennis Village
Eventide Arts, Inc. has awarded the collaborating pair of playwrights, Jim Dalglish and Lynda Sturner, the top prize for A Talented Woman.
Read on March 22 & 23 at 7:30 PM
Dennis, MA: Eventide Arts, Inc. has awarded the collaborating pair of playwrights, Jim Dalglish and Lynda Sturner, the top prize for A Talented Woman. The full-length play is the winner of the 6th Annual New Playwrights, New Plays: Jeremiah Kaplan Playwriting Competition and Performance. The play, a comedic look at a family grappling with tough issues, is also a semi-finalist for The National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT.
Chosen from 17 entries, the playwriting duo followed the steps of the Eventide Arts playwriting contest to emerge as the top play, receiving the $1000 Kaplan Prize and two readings to be presented by Eventide Arts.
This prize marks $6000 to date in prize money that Eventide Arts, with help from the Jeremiah Kaplan Foundation, has awarded to new, full-length plays written by Cape Cod playwrights over the last six years.
Eventide's Artistic Director, Toby Wilson, is pleased with the selection. The play is well-constructed, says Wilson, and has "... lots of intense characterizations that deal with contemporary issues such as the economy, raising a child in the digital age, fidelity and finding your identity as an individual."
A website set up by the playwrights exclusively for A Talented Woman (atalentedwoman.com)
John Schofield, a veteran director for Eventide Arts, is directing the reading and is delighted with the play. Says Schofield: "All of the characters are challenging and interesting while the dialogue is snappy and smart. There is a great deal of humor and pathos with emotional ups and downs and the play itself is marvelously constructed."
Eventide Arts is presenting a reading of the play, not a staged reading, in order to better display the strength and depth of the script. Between the actors and the playwrights, participation in Eventide's presentation of A Talented Woman showcases talent from Falmouth to Provincetown.
Both Jim Dalglish and Lynda Sturner have entered the Kaplan Playwriting Competition individually in the past with their own scripts. In the case of A Talented Woman, Lynda had written a version of it as a short play and showed it to Dalglish who felt that they could turn it into a full-length play. They worked on it for two years before entering it into the Kaplan Playwriting Competition this past May.
Competition entrants often mention, as did Dalglish and Sturner, that the most valuable part of the Competition is to have their plays read and critiqued by Eventide Art's former artistic director, Ellis Baker. Says Sturner: "The Eventide Arts Contest was most crucial and instrumental in the development of "A Talented Woman" because Ellis Baker's excellent critique inspired us to tackle a detailed rewrite, which deepened our play and caused us to make our characters more understandable and real."
Dalglish concurs and acknowledges that they worked hard to make their characters real. Says Dalglish, "Lynda and I don't shy away from exploring the deepest, funniest, darkest, and most harrowing aspects of our characters and their relationships. I also think there are few plays that present relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and daughters and between lovers with as much candor as A Talented Woman. That makes the play a pretty thrilling ride."
Their goal is to get the play in front of as many live audiences as possible, starting with the reading at Eventide Arts to be performed March 22 and 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Gertrude Lawrence Stage at the Historic Dennis Union Church on Rt. 6A in Dennis.
If they move into the position of finalists for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, they will work on the play and have it performed by professional actors during the month of August. Back-to-back awards for a well-written play are a dream come true for playwrights. But seeing the work performed elevates the play to a whole new level.
"When you write a play," says Dalglish, "it lives in the playwright's mind. In this case, it lived in Lynda and my minds for more than two years. But the play isn't a real thing until it is performed in front of a live audience. Theater is a community thing. It works when an audience is living the experience at the same time as the actors. I'm hoping that audiences will find this play funny, but also very personal. I'm hoping that audiences will be able to identify with the characters and worry for them and laugh with them and cry with them and ultimately cheer them on."
Directed by John Schofield