SUNY Oswego Students to Stage Readings of Winning 10-page Plays

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

OSWEGO — The winners of SUNY Oswego’s 18th annual New Voices playwriting competition will showcase their 10-page works Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19 and 20, in staged readings.

The free presentations will take place 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Tyler Hall lab theatre.

The short-play format challenges the ability of students to write tightly, said Brad Korbesmeyer, associate professor and director of creative writing.

“In truth, it’s a very difficult format to establish what you need to tell the story, make an impact and then to tie it up in some way,” Korbesmeyer said.

The 2011 New Voices winners are:

* Katherine Boswell, a double major in journalism and theatre, playwright of “Desire to Fail”

* Kevin Leonard, double major in English and creative writing, “Elevator Man”

* Gavin McCarthy, English, “Normal”

* Eli Ouderkirk, a cinema and screen studies major and creative writing minor, “Metro”

* Stephen Russomano, creative writing, “Atlas”

* And the first-ever winning writing team, Eric Wojtanik, a double major in cinema and screen studies and creative writing with a minor in journalism, and Samson Dikeman Jr., English, co-writers of “Scat Boogie”

The winners have worked with fellow students to improve their plays in preparation for the staged readings, said Korbesmeyer, who cofounded the competition with Mark Cole, professor of theatre. They continue to plan it and advise the competitors.

Korbesmeyer said he and Cole started this competition because they want the community to be aware of playwrights on campus, students get to work with new directors and original works, and the professors consider the collaboration process critical.

“How much are the actors and directors helping the playwright shape their piece and move it forward — that to me is the exciting part,” Korbesmeyer said.

This year’s student directors are Jessica Quindlen, “Desire to Fail”; Jacob Luria, “Elevator Man”; Boswell, “Normal” and “Atlas”; Jaclyn Mienkiewicz, “Metro”; and Aaron Londraville, “Scat Boogie.”

Korbesmeyer said three professors and three students judged 25 entries this year. The judges were Cole, Korbesmeyer and Donna Steiner, assistant professor in the English and creative writing department; and students Dan Herson, Chelsea Mahoney and Rachel Strauss.

The staged readings culminate — but do not necessarily complete — the competition among the playwrights. “I’m hoping that after the evening is over with, the winners will continue to work on the play and send it out to some other competitions, or certainly will continue to write plays,” Korbesmeyer said.