A Contemporary Theatre’s New Play Award for 2013 has been awarded to Red Earth, Gold Gate, Shadow Sky by Seattle resident Mark Jenkins. ACT has also announced the play will be included in its 2014 Mainstage season.
The new play has been in development for a number of years. Jenkins, a University of Washington professor, gathered material from interviews, workshops, oral histories, photographs among Seattle’s Cambodian community, and by travelling to present day Cambodia to talk to those who left America to return to their homeland.
The play is a harrowing tale of a Cambodian family who lives through the American bombing of Southeast Asia, survives the horrors of the killing fields and the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, struggles to adapt as immigrants in modern Seattle, and has to fight for a place in America where incarceration and deportation are a constant threat.
Now in its eighth year, the ACT New Play Award is sponsored by Gian-Carlo and Eulalie Scandiuzzi. The winner receives $2,500. Two free staged readings will be presented in ACT’s Bullitt Cabaret in July, 2013.
â€œAs a white, middle class American I am acutely aware of my presumption to depict a complex culture, one I am only â€˜visiting,’â€ says Jenkins. â€œI know my role is that of a facilitator rather than as an authentic representative of a story that belongs to the Khmer-American community. With that in mind, I have sought and received advice, corrections and the endorsement of several leaders in the Khmer community.â€
Past ACT New Play Award recipients include
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Angus MacLachlan’s Abundant Acreage Available, 2012
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Emily Schwend’s South of Settling, 2011
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â David Weiner’s Extraordinary Chambers,2010
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Zakiyyah Alexander’s Sweet Maladies, 2009
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms, 2008
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Laura Schellhardt’s The K of D, 2006
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Elizabeth Heffronâ€˜s Mitzi’s Abortion, 2005