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TBA Online: News & Features: February 2013

Glickman Award for 2012 Goes to Christopher Chen for "The Hundred Flowers Project"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013   (0 Comments)
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By Theatre Bay Area Staff



Playwright Christopher Chen has won the prestigious Will Glickman Award for The Hundred Flowers Project, which received its world premiere with Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation in October 2012. Chen, Crowded Fire and Playwrights Foundation will receive awards as part of Theatre Bay Area's "Faces of Theatre Bay Area" event on March 4, 2012 at the San Francisco Playhouse in San Francisco. In addition, Chen will receive the award's $4,000 purse.



Will Dao, Ogie Zulueta, Wiley Naman Strasser and Anna Ishida in the world premiere of Christopher Chen's The Hundred Flowers Project, coproduced by Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation (2012). Photo: Pak Han

In The Hundred Flowers Project, a collective of actors use 21st century digital media tools to explore the propaganda mechanisms of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. As their play becomes a successful, high-tech, worldwide spectacle, the play begins to dramatically shift, and seemingly outside events begin to surface inside the story, leaving us to figure out who, or what, is in control.

"I'm truly honored to receive this award for a project that was a labor of love for myself, Crowded Fire and Playwrights Foundation," Chen says. "I'm thrilled to have been a part of such an amazing year of Bay Area theatre, and I'm proud to be a member of this community."

"We're deeply proud of nurturing this seminal new play from commission through production with Christopher Chen and our coproducers at Playwrights Foundation," says Crowded Fire artistic director Marissa Wolf. "To win one of the most prestigious awards in the Bay Area, joining the ranks of leading new play companies including Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks and the Magic, is a tremendous honor. I feel very moved by the Glickman Award's powerful support of innovative new work, promoting truly risky, exciting new plays like The Hundred Flowers Project."

"Playwrights Foundation is honored and enormously proud to have supported Chris as one of our resident playwrights," says Playwrights Foundation artistic director Amy Mueller. "Deeply unconventional, this play pushed past everything we knew about theatre into completely unknown territory; it was our unshakable belief in the artistic brilliance of this playwright, our commitment to a complex process for his vision, and our partnership with Crowded Fire that sustained this three-year journey. It has been a delight to join together in support of this hard-working and brave writer, and so gratifying that Chris is now being recognized by this wonderful award. Let one hundred more productions bloom as a result!"

This is the first Glickman Award for Crowded Fire and the second for Playwrights Foundation, which won the prize in 2005 for its coproduction of Liz Duffy Adams's play, Dog Act, with Shotgun Players.

"I'm so pleased to present this year's Will Glickman Award to Christopher Chen for The Hundred Flowers Project," says Theatre Bay Area executive director Brad Erickson. "Chris's writing is thrilling, pushing boundaries, pushing the audience and his collaborators, but always grounded in close and compassionate observation of human behavior. The play's premiere, a coproduction of Crowded Fire and the Playwrights Foundation, exemplifies the best of Bay Area new work development and our community's spirit of collaboration."

Administered by Theatre Bay Area and started in 1984 to honor Bay Area playwright and screenwriter Will Glickman, the Will Glickman Award is presented annually to the author or authors of the best play to have its world premiere in the Bay Area the preceding year. The winner is chosen by a panel of top Bay Area theatre critics: Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle, Robert Avila of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Karen D'Souza of the San Jose Mercury News, Chad Jones of and Sam Hurwitt of the Marin Independent Journal.

The panel also named another strong contender as a runner-up for this year's award: Josh Costello's stage adaptation of Cory Doctorow's novel Little Brother, premiered by Custom Made Theatre Co., the full text of which is published in the January/February 2013 issue of Theatre Bay Area magazine.

Last year's Glickman winner, Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool, opens off-Broadway in February in a new staging by the director of its original TheatreWorks production, Giovanna Sardelli. The 2011 winner, Luis Alfaro's Oedipus el Rey, went on to celebrated productions in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, and the 2010 winner, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), went on to become playwright Sarah Ruhl's Broadway debut. Other past recipients include Tony Kushner forAngels in America: Millennium Approaches (1992), Philip Kan Gotanda for Yankee Dawg You Die (1989), Octavio Solis for Santos y Santos (1994) and Leigh Fondakowski et al for The People's Temple (2006).