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Playing On Air Announces Stevenson Prize Winner, Selected by Lynn Nottage, Rebecca Taichman and David Henry Hwang

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The winner is 'I think it's worth pointing out that I've been very serious throughout this entire discussion or, Dave and Julia are stuck in a tree' by Mallory Jane Weiss



Playing On Air Announces Stevenson Prize Winner, Selected by Lynn Nottage, Rebecca Taichman and David Henry Hwang

Theater podcast and public radio program Playing on Air has announced the winners of the third annual James Stevenson Prize for Comedic Short Plays. The nation's largest open-submission short play prize, the Stevenson Prize awards a professional audio production and $6,000 cash prize to the play that best celebrates the comic wit of longtime author, illustrator, and New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson.

From 960 open submissions, the 2020 winner of the Stevenson Prize is "I think it's worth pointing out that I've been very serious throughout this entire discussion or, Dave and Julia are stuck in a tree" by Mallory Jane Weiss.

The second prize of $3,000 goes to "S.W.A.T." by Jaymes Sanchez, and third prize of $1,000 goes to "The Donor" by Avery Deutsch.

This year's top plays were selected by an acclaimed panel of judges. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Tony-winning director Rebecca Taichman, and Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang were joined by Playing on Air founder and Producing Artistic Director Claudia Catania and prize sponsor Josie Merck as jurors for the final round of scripts. All readers and judges scored scripts blind, with no knowledge of playwrights' past credits.

Weiss's winning comedy cheerfully prods family bonds between parents and their grown children. When runaway snow tubes send a dad and his grown daughter flying off a cliff, they're left hanging on for dear life - and testing the limits of a punchline. Playing on Air will record and release the audio production nation-wide, via public radio and podcast, in 2021.

"Stevenson's cartoons play with your expectations. So I wanted to approach a comedic play from that angle," said Weiss of her script. "What context would make this joke funnier? And then I became really interested in the opposite... When do jokes stop being funny?"

"S.W.A.T.", about two conservatory-trained actors auditioning for stereotypical roles, was sparked by the playwright's personal experiences. "I wrote the first draft of this play a few years ago when I was living in Boston," said Sanchez. "I became very frustrated with the Boston theatre scene's racist casting, production, and season selection habits. It allowed me to poke fun at the situation rather than just be frustrated."

Since 2012, audio drama podcast Playing on Air has shared the highest caliber contemporary short plays with audiences nationwide. Shared via podcast and public radio, every piece is followed by an insightful and lively conversation with the artists.

Audiences can enjoy episodes and subscribe to Playing on Air via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, or listen online at: https://playingonair.org.

More information about the James Stevenson Prize for Short Comedic Plays can be found here: https://playingonair.org/about-the-james-stevenson-prize



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