Segora One Act Play competition 2016 winners

First prize - Seth Freeman, California, U.S.A. Ethel

Over thirty of Seth Freeman’s plays of varying lengths have been presented and given awards at a hundred forty theatres and festivals around the world. He has written for print (The New York Times, Southern Theatre Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, California Magazine, the Huffington Post, The Hill), screen and television, for which he created, most recently, the U.S. series Lincoln Heights. He contributes non-writing time to organizations dealing locally and globally with health care, education, women’s empowerment and human rights.


Judge's comments:

Seth Freeman’s Ethel prevailed, coming to the forefront during each selection session. The play has humour, pathos, wistfulness and menace, with the main action reaching a climax in an hilarious brawl. Between seven well-drawn characters the author creates brilliantly interwoven sub-plots, expertly shaped to leave no loose ends in a poignant conclusion. Excellent dialogue thrives at a lively pace, assisted by the use of a multi-purpose set. As in last year’s competition with The Authoress, (1M,4W) Seth demonstrates his confidence in handling comedy, but in Ethel he uses the form to contemplate some profound issues in personal relations. (4M, 3W)


Judge - Gordon Simms


Once again it was a pleasure to read such a variety of plays, with diverse theme, genre, style and language. There were several examples of well-judged dialogue, depth of characterisation and sound dramatic structure, all of which made for fascinating reading and for difficult decisions in the compilation of the short list.

Highly Commended:
In "The Tribute" Charles Evans displays a mastery of spare dialogue and taut action, as in his entry of last year, Roger’s Career (1M,2 W). Here, double-dealing culminates in a sinister conclusion, all the more effective for being understated. This is an excellent stage play with some meaty material for our age, (2M,1W)

Stephanie Weston’s black comedy "Getting to Yes" is a very funny play which would work equally well on stage or TV. Unlikely members of a secret service are ordered to develop compassionate and therapeutic techniques with which to interrogate their victims. Convincing characterisation is supported especially by delightful dialogue. (1M, 3W)

"Weston on a Sunday" is Amanda Staples’ fond study of an elderly lady suffering from dementia. Amusing, sympathetic, but avoiding sentimentality, this real-time radio piece could work just as well on stage, being very much a play for our times. Brave and honest, PC world beware! (1M, 3W)

Doc Watson, who won this competition last year with What time is it Virginia Woolf? (1M,2W) entered this time a delicious revenge comedy set in the world of celebrity cookery. In an amusing real-time scenario, "Manger à Trois", he creates a pressurised world of jealousy and rivalry which entertains throughout. (2M, 1W)
Charles Evans also submitted "Knowing Kate", a tour de force for the four actors. This extremely ambitious piece uses eight scenes to cover historical events that led to an infamous murder as well as a contemporary account of a young woman who is obsessed with that story. Flitting from one epoch to another, this is challenging writing that gives exciting opportunities to the female cast. (4W)

In thanking all those who entered the competition I would like to express my appreciation of the wonderful creativity in evidence. I have been privileged to read excellent plays for the stage; also for radio and TV, which, with imaginative direction, could be successfully presented on stage. Had I a company to work with I would be eager to put on any or all of the plays I have highlighted in 2015 and 2016. They would provide a repertoire of new work which would be thrilling to present.
I urge anyone looking to perform new one-act plays to contact me through this website. I can put you in touch with playwrights who will be willing to give you further information about their plays with a possible view to performance.
Meanwhile to all those who entered, keep writing! Imagine your work being performed; believe in it. You have talent.

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