Judges: Rob Long, Bob Balaban, Jeremy Kareken, Christian Camargo, Johnathan Leaf
BRAT by Jason Pizzarello. BRAT is the story of a mother and son – both veterans of the forever war in Afghanistan – as they struggle to reintegrate into the civilian world and mend their broken relationship. Jake signed up to follow in his mother’s footsteps, but doesn’t get what he expected when he returns home to confront everything, and everyone, that’s been waiting for him.
The judges said the following about BRAT: “Mysterious, emotionally sound, haunting — it’s also clearly a very personal piece. The language is lean and spare, the opening is terrific, and the last scene is gripping.”
LOCAL GODS by Anton Sattler. LOCAL GODS is the story of longtime military police officer Miriam who abruptly quits the Army after four tours in Iraq to throw everything she has into making a fresh start at home. But as she and her husband Damon attempt to reintegrate into civilian life, revisiting her old haunts and old friends, home feels like unfamiliar territory. Unfolding in tandem with flashbacks of memories, emails, and imaginings that won’t let Miriam go, this play is a keenly observed, poignant portrait of the losses we suffer when we go to war, and the losses we suffer when we come back.
The judges said, about LOCAL GODS, “Authentic, panoramic, fascinating. Lots of terrific detail and dialogue and chock-full of story and characters. A haunting story about the interaction between the services and how men can and can’t show care for each other.”
LUCKY by Phanésia Pharel. On the Caribbean island of Quisqueya (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), where war has erupted, vulnerable bodies are under the reign of soldiers and fire. A Waitress escapes onto a resort in the midst of writing her novel; telling the story of a luminous
young woman named Lucky. As the Waitress writes the novel comes to life, shifting between the resort and Lucky’s world. As the Waitress weaves Lucky’s path to womanhood, Lucky is forced to redefine home and sacrifice her body. What does triumph look like in a world numb to Black girls suffering?” The women of LUCKY refuse to burn.
About LUCKY, the judges said, “Beguiling, moving, deeply satisfying — and genuinely original. Her theatrical devices were both enchanting and extremely credible. She offers a fresh look at Creole and Haitian cultures and how both have been affected by wartime. The pacing and dialogue are terrific, and the end of the play delivers a richly-earned gut punch.”