Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) has named Michael Mejias as its 2012 National Latino Playwriting Award winner for "Ghetto Babylon." Mejias will receive $1,000 and a public reading in February 2013 during ATC's new play reading series, Café Bohemia under the direction of Marc David Pinate.
The National Latino Playwriting Award was established by Arizona Theatre Company to create a greater awareness of the work being done by Latino playwrights.
"Ghetto Babylon" centers around Charlie Rosa, a Latino kid with a free ride to the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, who is well on his way to pitching his beloved West Farms Warriors into the Little League Championship. Set in the summer of 1982 in the "Boogie Down" Bronx, Charlie's plans are derailed when a letter arrives from Exeter requesting that he arrive earlier than originally planned.
Will Charlie choose between a childhood dream of pursuing baseball glory with his teammates or the educational opportunity of a lifetime? With his level-headed cousin Felix too busy chasing girls and a best friend who doesn't necessarily give the best advice, who can Charlie turn to? He finds answers in the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye."
"Our team of judges found 'Ghetto Babylon' a humorous, whimsical and soulful piece about manifesting a future while honoring one's past," said Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero. "Set in a housing project in the Bronx, the play is a love letter to baseball, the projects and the written word."
Michael Mejias grew up in the West Farms Housing Projects in the South Bronx. Mejias worked in professional theatre as a playwright, literary manager, dramaturg, director, reviewer, monologue coach, teacher and producer. He is also a founding member of the Dramatic Question Theatre, a small playwright's theatre that's been instrumental in the development of "Ghetto Babylon."
"Ghetto Babylon" will be featured in February during ATC's second season of Café Bohemia at the Temple Lounge inside the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson.
This year's finalists include "Los Matadores" by Silvia Gonzalez S, where a painting of a flamenco dancer and guitar player come alive as a boarding house maid teaches a wannabe bullfighter the technique of bullfighting to heroic and disastrous results; and "Hurricane Season" by military veteran G. Flores which captures the legacy of war and the potent grip of post traumatic stress disorder in the story of a World War I veteran struggling to help his son-in-law, fresh from combat in Vietnam, deal with survivor's guilt.
Past award-winning play, "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," by Kristoffer Diaz was later a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Plays from the award have been featured at the Humana Festival and at regional theaters across the country. Other recipients of the award include: Carlos Murillo, Octavio Solis, and Karen Zacarias. Felix Pire's winning play "The Origins of Happiness in Latin" was produced by ATC and Edwin Sànchez's "La Bella Familia" was the first play to be featured in ATC's inaugural season of Café Bohemia.
Submissions for the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award are now being accepted. Latino Playwrights residing in the United States, its territories or Mexico are encouraged to submit scripts for the award. Each script will be read and evaluated by a culturally diverse panel of theatre artists. Finalists will be judged by ATC artistic staff. Scripts must be postmarked by December 31, 2012.
We respectfully ask that you adhere to the following application requirements:
· Submit one script, securely bound by brads, a three ring binder, a presentation folder or any other non-permanent binding system. Please do not send a script that has been spiral-bound as we need to copy and distribute your play across a number of readers.
· Please include a title page on the script that includes the play's title, the author's name, and contact information (including a phone number, mailing address and email).
· Include a cover letter of no more than one-page, describing the play's developmental history and any other relevant information about the play.
Mail manuscripts to:
National Latino Playwriting Award
ATTN: Katherine Monberg, Literary Assistant
Arizona Theatre Company
343 S. Scott Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701
We do not accept scripts via email.