Harrison David Rivers Named Recipient of 2018 Relentless Award

Harrison David Rivers Named Recipient of 2018 Relentless Award

The American Playwriting Foundation, established to make annual grants to new American plays, has selected Harrison David Rivers for The 2018 Relentless Award, the largest annual cash prize in American theater awarded to a play. Established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his pursuit of truth in the theater, this year's Relentless Award Winner, The Bandaged Place, is a brutal and lyrical play about one man's attempt to free himself from the his past as he is forced to turn to his precocious daughter and tough love grandmother for support when a former abusive lover resurfaces, re-opening a painful wound. The playwright, Harrison David Rivers, will be awarded $45,000 and the play will receive the most extensive national roll-out in American theater, with staged readings at some of the most esteemed theaters in the country as well as London's Old Vic.

The ten playwrights named as semifinalists were selected through a blind judging process from over 2,000 submissions by the Relentless Subcommittee and presented to the Selection Committee who then select the Relentless Winner and Relentless Finalists. The 2018 Committee included Eric Bogosian, Thomas Bradshaw, David Bar Katz, Lynn Nottage, and Jonathan Marc Sherman. They sought out plays that were challenging, and as the name would have it, relentlessly truthful.

The 2018 Relentless Finalists are The 626 Project by Lisa Sanaye Dring and The Girl is Chained by Genne Murphy.

The 2018 Semifinalists are The Absentee by Julia Doolittle, cullud wattah by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, The End of a Sound by Ann Gillespie, littleghost by Liza Birkenmeier, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer, suspension by Kristiana Colón and With Great Difficulty Alice Sits by Hannah Kenah.

Additionally, ten plays were selected as Honorable Mentions. These are pieces that were given advanced consideration but ultimately didn't make the final selection into the top Semifinalist selections. The following plays received strong support from our Subcommittee: american (tele)visions by Victor I. Cazares; Biting Hands by Laura Winters; But When I Started to Play! by Max Baker; Immortality Crisis by Alexander Pine; Montag by Kate Tarker, PSYCHOPSYCHOTIC, or, everyone at yale is a goddamn sociopath!!! by Alexa Derman; Cave Canem by A. Emmanuel Leadon, TJ Love Sally 4 Ever by James Ijames; We Are Radios by Chana Porter; and WOLFCRUSH (a queer werewolf play in three acts) by Haygen-Brice Walker.


The American Playwriting Foundation administers The Relentless Award, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his pursuit of truth in the theater. The award is the largest annual cash prize in American theater awarded to a playwright in recognition of a new play and is accompanied by an extensive reading series at many of the top theaters across the United States.

Previous Relentless Award Winners include The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (2015), Dance Nation by Clare Barron (2015), Is God Is by Aleshea Harris (2016), and Pussy Sludge (2017) by Gracie Gardner. A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The Wolves played at Lincoln Center, a remount following a sold-out Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Realm. Dance Nation premiered at Playwrights Horizons and was named a NY Times Critics' Pick, and Is God Is premiered at Soho Rep in February of 2018, and was also named a NY Times Critics' Pick and received four Obie Awards.


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