On the Spectrum
|Photo courtesy Mixed Blood Theatre|
, a Mixed Blood Theatre commission that premiered last fall as part of the Center of the Margins festival, earned one of two citations from the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. The honor was given at the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville.
It's the second time that playwright Ken LaZebnik has been honored by ATCA for work at Mixed Blood, having earned an Osborne Award in 2006.
According to founder Jack Reuler, LaZebnik has had a long relationship with the theater. He "first wrote a script for Mixed Blood in 1979, entitled African Jazz. On the Spectrum marked the seventh original Ken LaZebnik play produced by Mixed Blood and the fourth in a decade directed by me," he says.
"While the two of us and Mixed Blood audiences have been moved by this collaboration and its resulting productions, it has been a heartwarming validation of this personal and professional partnership to have the American Theatre Critics Association twice recognize Ken for his work as a playwright, and with two plays with themes and characters centered around autism," Reuler adds.
On the Spectrum follows the relationship between two young adults who exist on different places on the autism spectrum. The piece was part of Mixed Blood's Center of the Margins festival, which examined disability issues from several different perspectives.
The playwright, who was in Louisville for the award, was thrilled with the honor. "I really share this with Jack," LaZebnik says. "He was committed to the play from the beginning."
The play's topic is close to LaZebnik's heart, who has a trio of nephews who are on the spectrum, which made the play's exploration of autism as a disability or difference very important.
Yussef El Guindi's Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World won the top $25,000 prize. On the Spectrum and A. Rey Pamatmat's Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (which just closed with Mu Performing Arts) earned citations, which came with a $7,000 prize. They were among six plays nominated for the 2012 prize, which honors original works that premiere outside of New York City.
1501 4th St. S., Minneapolis, MN