The results of the 2015 Dr. Gaffney Playwriting Award/Wagner New Play Festival competition are now known. Jurors for this year’s award are La Jolla Playhouse’s Director of New Play Development Shirley Fishman and Allan Havis, professor of playwriting and provost of Thurgood Marshall College/UC San Diego.
The Theatre & Dance Department wishes to thank the work of the jurors, the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and also the Gaffney family for lending Dr. Floyd Gaffney’s name to this national event - recognizing Dr. Gaffney’s achievement in African American theatre.
The Gaffney Prize, now in its ninth year, awards $1000 to the winning author along with travel and lodging to participate in the play’s staged reading April 25, 2015 as part of the Wagner New Play Festival at UC San Diego.
This year, Scripps College undergraduate Catherine Frost won for her play blue heart beats. set in post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans, teenage Ishelle who is new at school vanishes which creates cascading problems for her sister Jaelah and their family. Catherine Frost’s memorable script examines with heightened language and poetry the responsibility a family and a community must share, and to the indelible pain of missing and abused Black women.
The honorable mention honor goes to Kenya Ann Hall for The Road to Hell is Paved. In a time fluid tale that begins in a small church in 1950s Alabama, this tightly structured play jumps to the 1960s Nation of Islam mosque in Harlem, and then to a People of Color Sangha in contemporary Seattle, we track 15 year old Delia harshly pushed onto her journey by necessity and longing for a new home and something true to believe in.