Ensemble Theatre Announces Finalists of PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition

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Ensemble Theatre Announces Finalists of PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has announced the three finalists of the second annual PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, held in memory of writer, critic, and arts advocate, Jackie Demaline. The three finalists include To Saints and Stars by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, The Black Boy in Pink by Isaiah Mikel-Reaves, and M's Republic by Peyton Wright. A brief virtual excerpt of the finalists' submissions will be showcased online June 16-18, 2020. The winner of the competition will be announced on June 22, 2020, followed by a full reading of their script to be showcased online for only 24 hours.

A reading of the winning submission was originally scheduled to be performed as a part of ETC's Studio Series the first week of May to coincide with Jackie Demaline's birthday. However, with COVID restrictions enacted shortly after the submission deadline, ETC was forced to delay these performances until arrangements could be made to adapt this presentation to a digital format and to include excerpts of the finalists' pieces. ETC is honored to share these emerging young voices as they begin their professional and/or post-academic careers.

About the Plays:

M's Republic

By Peyton Wright

Through the lessons of Plato's Republic, M's Republic explores the life of high school student Mia, her boyfriend and classmates, and her teacher, and how the diversion of good intentions leads to their downfall.

To Saints and Stars

By Jordan Ramirez Puckett

To Saints and Stars explores the intersection between science and faith. It follows lifelong best friends Sofía, a NASA astronaut, and Zoe, the wife of a Greek Orthodox priest. Their lives are changed forever when Zoe becomes pregnant with her first child and Sofía is chosen for the first manned mission to Mars.

The Black Boy in Pink

By Isaiah Mikel-Reaves

The Black Boy in Pink tells the story of Wyatt, a Black, gay male sex-worker who hustles against the backdrop of 1959 Cincinnati, Ohio. As his life becomes entangled with the legacy of a wealthy, white family, will Wyatt be able to love himself in a world that doesn't love him?

About the Playwrights:

Peyton Wright (Playwright) is a rising junior at Xavier University where she is a candidate for a BA in Theatre, as well as pursuing a minor in Deaf Studies. Her recent performance history on the Xavier Theatre stage consists of Urinetown: The Musical, Company, and Chicago. She has also fulfilled many roles backstage and is an employee of

Xavier's scene shop. At her alma mater, Presentation Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, she had opportunities to explore theatre through performance, writing, and directing.

Jordan Ramirez Puckett (Playwright) is a Chicana playwright and lighting designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She often writes about being caught between two identities and our intrinsic desire for human connection, no matter how brief. She most recently participated in the 2018-2019 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series. Her work has also been produced and/or developed by 2Cents Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, Custom Made Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre Company, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and San Francisco Playhouse, among others. Her plays include To Saints and Stars, A Driving Beat, Las Pajaritas, Restore, and Inevitable. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the former Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco Playhouse. She recently graduated with her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University.


Isaiah Mikel-Reaves (Playwright) is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, Isaiah graduated Cum Laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2020. His plays have been staged and read by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at Lincoln Center, Vintage Soul Productions of Connecticut, and many others. Isaiah has been awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship and a Cincinnati CityBeat Critics Pick. He will continue his education in pursuit of an MFA at the esteemed University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop in the fall.


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