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BWW Exclusive: Meet the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalists- Jiehae Park

Plus, read an excerpt from Park's nominated play, The Aves.

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced 10 Finalists for 2021 for its prestigious playwriting award, the oldest and largest prize awarded to women+ playwrights. The Winner, to be announced on April 7, will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 USD, and will receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Ahead of the announcement, BroadwayWorld is excited to spotlight each of this year's finalists. Below, learn more about Jiehae Park and read an excerpt form her play, The Aves.


BWW Exclusive: Meet the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalists- Jiehae Park What does it mean to you personally to be recognized by such a reputable and respected organization?

It's lovely to feel part of a global community of writers affiliated with the Blackburn-past, present, and future. I'm already fans of many of these wonderful writers and am looking forward to getting to know the works of those I hadn't yet encountered.

What's next? Do you have any new projects on the horizon, ideas that you'd love to put on paper, etc.?

I just found the ending for a piece that I've been working on for a long time, about navigating loss. It weaves threads of childhood play, John Harrison's longitude clocks, and the disappearance of MH370...I've been working on it for years with my design collaborator (who has been with me since the piece's inception) and I can't tell you how happy I was to finally crack the end. I hadn't expected to make progress on plays during the pandemic, because for me they require a certain kind of stillness that has been challenging for the obvious reasons...so that discovery was a surprise and delight. And I've just turned in two second drafts- for the book of a commercial musical based on the YA book KILL THE BOY BAND, and for a TV pilot I'm writing with Diana Son for Tomorrow Studios/Apple. So I'm happy to have some headspace to start on a few earlier-stage projects I'm excited about.


Read an excerpt from Jiehae Park's play, The Aves:

YOUNG WOMAN
do you want me to leave you?

because i will
if you do this thing
i will leave you
how will that make you "feel"

beat

YOUNG MAN
"sad"?

YOUNG WOMAN
well then

beat

YOUNG MAN
do you love me?

YOUNG WOMAN
what?

YOUNG MAN
do you

YOUNG WOMAN
i
why?

YOUNG MAN
just answer

YOUNG WOMAN
okay

YOUNG MAN
okay "yes"
or you'll answer?

beat

YOUNG WOMAN
"yes."

YOUNG MAN
oh

YOUNG WOMAN
alright?

YOUNG MAN
alright.
beat.
why?

beat.

YOUNG WOMAN
you have a good heart

beat.

YOUNG MAN
that's all?

YOUNG WOMAN
yes

YOUNG MAN
what else
tell me

YOUNG WOMAN
you're
trusting

YOUNG MAN
that's true

YOUNG WOMAN
you're a truster

YOUNG MAN
i trust

YOUNG WOMAN
when i look in your eyes
looking at me
looking at you
looking at me
i see

YOUNG MAN
yes?

YOUNG WOMAN
nothing.

beat

YOUNG MAN [unsure:]
and that's
...
good?

YOUNG WOMAN takes his face in her hands.

YOUNG WOMAN
that's so good
babe
that's so very
very
good.


Click here to learn more about The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.


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