Please allow this image of a lone blue ball amidst the gray to represent an Outstanding Thing.
Okay, okay. I will be bloggy of the Wasserstein hullaballoo. The Wasserstein is an incredible prize of $25,000 awarded to one female playwright a year – she must be under the age of 32, and not have had a major production yet. Again. Twenty Five. Thousand Dollars. This changes someone’s life. I was so so thrilled to be nominated – but then felt a bit worthless when I received the letter stating that a prize was not going to be awarded this year – because of the 19 nominiated plays – none of them were found worthy of the prize.
When it comes to letters like that, I give them a read, and then I throw them away. I have to or I’ll dwell on them and let it fester. So that’s what I did. Also I told myself – many prizes I’ve submitted for state that they reserve the right to not award the prize any given year, if no play is worthy. But a few weeks later, news of the lack of award circulated, and all of the sudden there was this really inspiring wave of outrage / petitions / support that actually got the Board to reassess their decision – they are now going to request additional plays from each nominee, and consider moreso the body of work than one play.
Pretty friend and co-writer Janine Nabers forwarded this to me over the weekend: an article in the UK Guardian states:
‘…I polled some directors, producers, playwrights, and foundation heads. Most of them could supply a short list of eligible playwrights, though they then admitted that most of the writers on it were women they saw as particularly promising and authors of very good plays, though perhaps not yet of “truly outstanding” ones. (Bekah Brunstetter and Janine Nabers were mentioned multiple times.) ‘
First thought: yay, to be mentioned, to be noticed! Second: wait a minute, I have yet to write an outstanding play?? Is that kind of – Third thought: You know what? You’re right. I don’t think I have yet written an outstanding play. Fifth thought: I should probably write one.
Sixth, and final: how does one write an outstanding play? Honestly, I don’t think you can. I think a writer’s most outstanding play comes from a place of such unaware, such abandon, such wonder and nerves, that you kind of have no idea what’s happening, and then suddenly you’ve written it.
And its Outstanding.