The Alliance National Graduate Playwriting Competition continues to spotlight the best emerging playwrights with a full production for the competition winner and staged readings for four competition finalists. BIKE AMERICA, the ninth competition winner, will premiere on the Hertz Stage today, February 1 - 24, 2013. Opening night is February 6, 2013. BIKE AMERICA is written by Mike Lew from the Juilliard Drama Division and will be directed by Mortiz von Stuelpnagel.
BIKE AMERICA tells the story of Penny, a damaged student who sets out on a cross-country bike trip to find her place in the world. Along the way Penny meets a colorful crew of bikers from the lesbian couple who've decided to get a marriage license in every state they visit to the mysterious Man with the Van who transports their stuff. As the bikers travel through iconic towns across the country from the deep North down to the deep South (and the highways between them), they discover things about each other and the communities around them. BIKE AMERICA captures the national temperature and the restlessness of a millennial generation that will go to any length to find a place that always seems just out of reach.
The cast of BIKE AMERICA includes film and stage actor Jessica Digiovanni as Penny, Atlanta actors Je Nie Fleming, Brandon Hirsch, Matt Nitchie, and Maurice Ralston, as well as Marilyn Torres and Tom White.
The Alliance National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA graduate programs in the United States, and then conducts a rigorous selection process to find four finalists and one winning play. The winner receives a full production as part of the ALLIANCE THEATRE regular season. The winner and four finalists also receive development opportunities for their works including staged readings with industry professionals in New York and Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind opportunity for emerging playwrights, the Competition transitions student playwrights to the world of professional theatre.
"The Alliance is so proud to participate in the very early careers of these talented playwrights," said Celise Kalke, ALLIANCE THEATRE Director of New Projects. "After their investment in their playwriting careers, we then invest in their first year out of school to help keep American Theatre important, current and vital."
Aside from Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Kalke, the selecting judges included Playwright David Henry Hwang, Playwright Tracey Scott Wilson, and Playwright Janece Shaffer.
The four 2013 finalists will be heard in free, staged readings February 5-7, 2013. The finalists are:
· ABSENCE - by Peter M. Floyd, Boston University
o Helen Bastion is 74 years old, but age has not taken its toll on this matriarch's will or her need to control her family, from her compliant husband David to her resentful daughter Barb. But when she begins to suffer lapses of memory, her steely facade begins to crumble. Words lose their meaning and reality fragments, as Helen's own sense of self starts to dissolve. Is she truly disappearing, or is she becoming something greater? An excitingly theatrical and surprising play about aging, power, grace and imagination.
· ROMAN CANDLE SUMMER - by Atlanta playwright Neeley Gossett, Hollins University
o Bitsy is a society woman who appears to have everything she could want-except a child. During a hot Alabama summer filled with carnivals and bottle-rockets, her life collides with Tess, a fourteen-year-old girl bouncing around foster homes and selling fireworks on the state border. In order to allow the teenager in her life, Bitsy must stake Tess against her country club comforts and marriage.
· RIVER CITY - by Diana Grisanti, University of Texas at Austin
o Shaken by her father's death, Mary sets off to uncover three generations' worth of family secrets buried in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky. River City charts Mary's journey, which spans four decades, and investigates race, memory, and the ghosts that haunt one American city.
· ANNIE BOSH IS MISSING - by Janine Nabers, The Juilliard School
o Annie, a twenty-two-year old mixed race recovering drug addict is swept into her own storm of violence and confusion when she returns home to Houston in the midst of Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Unable to communicate with her estranged family, Annie ventures out into the turbulent city around her looking for a connection -- causing the rift between Annie and her family to worsen.