IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT Wins 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary season, the Alliance/Kendeda 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. IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT, the 10th competition winner, will premiere on the Hertz Stage January 31 - February 23, 2014. Opening night is February 5, 2014. IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT is written by Madhuri Shekar, a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of South California, and will be directed by Laura Kepley, Artistic Director of the Cleveland Play House.

IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT tells the story of Evie, a master of relationships. Other people's relationships. That's why she has a waiting list of classmate clients willing to pay her top dollar to fix their relationships. How? She uses strategy, finds people's weaknesses, and then attacks with weaponized words using just the right amount of guilt, longing, and/or lust - whatever a relationship may need. All the skills and tactics she picked up on the way to becoming one of the best World of Warcraft players in the world. As for Evie's relationships? IRL (that is, In Real Life)? Well, all the action she's interested in is happening on the battlefields of WoW. When it comes to sex, Evie is a complete N00b and she's just fine with that. Until she meets Raul. He may just prove to be the most devious "boss" she has ever faced.

The cast of IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT includes Lily Balsen as Evie and EVan Cleaver as Raul, as well as Alexandra Ficken, Patrick Halley, Bobby Labartino, and Diany Rodriguez.

The Alliance/Kendeda 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.

Aside from Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Director of New Projects Celise Kalke, the selecting judges included Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Good People), Playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), and Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony, dramaturg and director of theatrical development for the Creative Entertainment division of Walt Disney Imagineering.

The four 2014 finalists will be heard in free, staged readings February 4 & 6, 2014. The finalists are:

o Featuring a large ensemble, full contact choreography, and a drumline, the play centers on a University of Texas football player, struggling to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal injury. A play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength, COLOSSAL is both a celebration and critical examination of our nation's most popular form of theater.

· SCISSORING - by Christina Quintana, Columbia University

    • Abigail Bauer, a New Orleans native and resident, must confront the clash between the life she has created with her long term girlfriend and her career as a devoted teacher in a repressive Catholic school. Through her struggle, Abigail receives pressure from the school's shape-shifting, personified P.A. System and guidance from the figures of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Roosevelt's devoted lifelong friend and once lover, Lorena Hickok.
  • IN THE SHADOW OF HIS LANGUAGE - by Jacob Juntunen, Ohio University

o Didi O'Connor must escape South Boston and seizes her chance when she gets "a free ride" to a prestigious college in Upstate New York. But when her advisor forces Didi to change her name, accent, clothes, even her religion, will success destroy her more than her dead-end home-life ever would? The play explores the costs of class-jumping and the imperialism we call "education."

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