Winners of playwriting contest honored Friday

Winners of the Heermans-McCalmon Playwriting Contest will be showcased Friday during an event at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

Staged readings of first-place winner Molly Karr’s ‘18 screenplay “Whole Hearted” and Aleksej Aarsaether’s ‘17 play, “The Diary of an American Girl” will be presented at 4:30 p.m. in the Class of ‘56 Dance Theatre. Aarsaether also won an honorable mention in the screenwriting category.

“My script is about a girl who cannot speak English who goes through rush (sorority recruitment),” Karr said. “When I was in rush, there was this sweet girl who definitely had a language barrier, and I just thought ‘Wow, what a brave thing to do. I wonder how she fared.”

Karr said she submitted the screenplay after taking a screenwriting class from Austin Bunn, assistant professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. “I spent some time thinking about what shaped me,” she said. “I chose it because I know it, and you have to write what you know no matter what genre.”

The playwriting awards were established in honor of Forbes Heermans ‘1878 and George McCalmon, a professor of speech and drama. They are given in two categories: playwriting and screenwriting.

In the screenwriting category, second place went to Clare Dingle ‘17 for “Child’s Play” and an honorable mention went to Aarsaether ‘17 for “Triggered.”

For the playwriting category, second place went to Irving Torres ‘18 for “Linajes Reales,” and an honorable mention went to Teagan Todd for “Booty Call.”

First-place winners earn cash prizes of $250 and second-place winners receive $100. In addition to the cash prize, the first-place winners also receive Final Draft Software, a screenwriting software to write and format screenplays, and student membership to the Dramatist Guild, the professional association of American playwrights.

The guidelines for this year’s competition were to create a 10-minute script in either the category of screenplays or the category of stage plays and to create a play that is meant to “inspire, engage, interrogate or reimagine some aspect of life in America.”

In addition to the presentation of the Heermans-McCalmon awards, the Drama Book Shop award will also be presented. This award is given to a PMA senior with outstanding achievements in theatre and the recipient will receive $100 to the Drama Book Shop. 

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