2023 One-Act Play Contest Finalists
Congratulations to our winner, runners-up, and finalists in our One-Act Contest. Thank you to our judge, Peter Hagan, and to Dylan Church, our contest coordinator.
From top left and moving from left to right, they are:
2023 Winner: Agyeiwaa Asante is a Ghanaian-American theater artist from Maryland, currently based in San Diego. Her plays include Wildest Dreams (Fire This Time Festival), By Grace Pt. 2 (2021 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival) and Dainty (Bold NYC’s 2020 Festival, Mosaic Theatre, Playwrights Realms Scratchpad series). Agyeiwaa holds commissions for UMD’s Next Now Festival, Single Carrot Theatre, and Round House Theatre. She is the 2020 recipient of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation’s Ollie Award; and holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently earning her MFA in Playwriting at UCSD.
Courtney Bailey, Ph.D., is a St. Louis-based writer and theater artist passionate about creating meaningful texts and performances that highlight stories of marginalized gender identities. She is also deeply entrenched in long-form storytelling, written or performed. Her artistic priorities as a theater artist consist of queer representation, responsible storytelling across cultures, and identities. She consistently works hard at blurring the lines between writer and performer. As a playwright, she has been a fellow with St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s Confluence Writers Project, which commissioned her full-length play Brontë Sister House Party, which was produced in August 2022 by Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble. In the summer of 2019, her full-length play, Immersion Play, premiered in a workshop production in New York City at the Connelly Theater with She NYC Arts, an Off-Broadway theater festival celebrating women writers. The writing and workshopping of her new play Margaret Fuller Magick Show is fully funded by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. She is currently a fellow with the Bechdel Project and a regular teaching artist and playwright for Prison Performing Arts. Other plays include Tonya and the Totes in Subterrastrata, Everything I Eat in a Day: a shameless corona play, Julie on Her Knees: a crass and jovial exorcism to help you break up with August Strindberg, Jenny’s in Hell, and Britches.
2023 Runner-Up: Brianna Barrett is a playwright, screenwriter, and performance artist from Portland, Oregon. Her theatrical work has been developed with LineStorm Playwrights at Artists Repertory Theatre, Theatre33, and Naked Angels LA. Brianna’s short plays are published by Samuel French/Concord Theatricals and Applause Books. Winner of the 2022 Mark Twain Prize in Comic Playwriting and called “Portland’s Best Storyteller” by Willamette Week, she has performed at festivals like Pickathon and her limited series podcast with Bag & Baggage Productions. Brianna has an MFA in playwriting from UCLA.
Colin Brezicki, retired English teacher and theater director, is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada. He has published two novels, A Case for Doctor Palindrome and All That Remains. His short fiction has won awards in Canada, the US, and the UK, including the J.K. Galbraith fiction prize. He was recently long-listed for the CBC Fiction and Commonwealth Writers Awards. Rite of Passage is his first play. After graduating from Western University in Ontario and Oxford University, he taught for thirty-seven years and now lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, on the doorstep of the Shaw Festival.
Andrea Fleck Clardy is a Boston playwright and activist. Her short plays and monologues have been widely produced and included in numerous anthologies, published by Smith and Kraus, Applause, LuLu, and New World Theatre. She won the Peter Honegger Prize (2022) and the Promising Playwright Award (2015); she was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Conference; a finalist for the Princess Grace Award; and a finalist twice for the Heideman Award. Other publications include a personal essay in the Boston Globe, a children’s book, a collection of her newspaper columns, and two books about upstate New York. She is a proud member of The Dramatists’ Guild, the National Writers’ Union, and the New Play Exchange.
Xiaoyan Kang was born and raised in China. She developed a passion for the theater during high school in Singapore and furthered this pursuit in Berkeley, California. She is drawn to playwriting by a desire to tell the stories of those marginalized by the grand narratives. Xiaoyan is currently an MFA candidate at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Joe Lauinger teaches dramatic literature at Sarah Lawrence College. His plays have been produced throughout the United States. Among his full-length productions, The Pie Dialogues won Best Play at the Dayton Ohio Playhouse FutureFest and was later produced by the Main Street Theater in Houston, Texas, and was published in Best Regional Plays 2011 by Level Four Press. The pilot of his television series, Blood and Gravy, was featured at the Big Apple Film Festival in 2017. Joe is a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Owen Levy, a native New Yorker, born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, is the author of two well-received novels, A Brother’s Touch, set in the early days of the Stonewall movement, and Goodbye Heiko Goodbye Berlin drawing on the gay milieu of Cold War Berlin and the early years of German Reunification. A full-length play Monster was given staged readings at the historic New Federal Theater, and another play, Babes in Berlin, had staged readings at New York’s Westbeth Theater Center. Recently he completed a two-character one act play, All Night Long, and is currently drafting a new full-length project tentatively entitled Blithe Acquaintances. A Fellow of both the Edwin MacDowell Colony and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, for many years Levy was active as a NY-based ATPAM press agent representing shows On and Off-Broadway, institutional theaters, as well as night clubs, personalities, and independent film. As a Berlin-based correspondent for international trades Variety and Billboard, he covered the German film and music industries, respectively. He was the documentations editor for the European Film Academy master class program and a longtime editor/reviewer for the annual Berlin International Film Festival screening guide. He graduated Hunter CUNY with a B.A in English literature and a psychology minor. He earned a certificate in German language studies from Goethe Institute Berlin. He recently completed a comic novel, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Levy is an accidental eyewitness to two seminal historical events of the 20th century: the Stonewall uprising and the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
2023 Runner-Up: Liza Powel O’Brien is a playwright whose work has been seen and developed at The Geffen Playhouse, The Blank Theatre, Unscreened LA, Naked Angels LA, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Hedgebrook, The Lark, and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. She was an inaugural member of the Writer’s Room at the Geffen, a member of the Echo Theater Playwrights Lab 2021, and holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. Her podcast Significant Others tells stories of those who lived just outside the spotlight of history.
Brenda Shoshanna is an award-winning playwright living in Manhattan. The former playwright in residence at The Ensemble Studio Theater and Jewish Repertory Theater, she has had productions and readings in many parts of the country, including New York. Venues include The Illusion Theater, Sewanee Conference, Love Creek Festival, and the Cleveland Public Theater, where she won the Chilcote Award. Most recently, Brenda has received an honorable mention from the Writer’s Digest for her new play, Madness for Two (The Story of A Marriage). Her other play, The Cure, has been included in the Fresh Words Drama Anthology. A long-term Zen practitioner, she is also a speaker and award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction. Brenda’s weekly podcast, Zen Wisdom for Your Everyday Life, has been going on for almost five years.
Declan Walsh is a senior in high school; and his mother is very proud of him. Declan primarily writes comedy, though his father would rather he focus on more serious things in life, like math and economics. Declan hasn’t really been published anywhere, and his mother thinks that’s a shame. Declan enjoys hearing people laugh. His father enjoys economics majors hearing people laugh. He lives in New York City.
Jonathon Ward has had his plays produced, presented, or read at Fringe NYC, Birdhouse Theatre, Eventide Theatre, Theatre Conspiracy, Secret Theatre, Manhattan Repertory, Itinerant Theatre, ATHE Conference, Little Funky Theatre, William Inge Festival, Metropolitan Playhouse, Barter Theater, InspiraTO, New Circle Theatre Company, Chelsea Rep, Abrons Arts Center, Huntington Arts Council, Cooperstown Art Museum, Little Victory Players, Urban Youth Theatre, University of Chicago Blackfriars, and others. He has received four NYSCA commissions and grants from New York University and private foundations. He was the Director of the Theater Department at the Abrons Arts Center and Administrator of the NYU Graduate Acting Program.