Former Rachel Lynett Theater Student
Rachel Lynett, a former drama student at U of A, is the recipient of the Yale Drama Series Prize 2021, one of the world’s most prestigious dramatic writing prizes, for her play. Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (Too August Wilson).
Lynett was selected for the honor by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, who called her play “a rigorous examination of the impact of racism in a future African American state after America’s next Civil War.”
by Lynet Our apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too August Wilson) takes place in the fictional world of a post-second civil war, Bronx Bay, an all-black state (and neighborhood) is established to protect the “black”. As Jules’ new partner, Yael, moves into town, community members argue over whether Yael, who is Dominican, can stay. Questions of safety and protection surround Jules and Yael as the Bronx Bay utopia itself faces the limit when it comes to defining who is Black and who is left out in the process.
This year, the Yale Drama Series Prize received more than 2,050 entries from 60 countries. Now celebrating its 14th year, the Yale Drama Series Prize is the premier drama writing award in cooperation with Yale University Press and is uniquely sponsored by the David Charles Horn Foundation.
The Yale Drama Series Prize is awarded annually to a play by an emerging playwright, selected by a jury of a distinguished playwright of our time. The winner receives the David Charles Horn Prize of $ 10,000, as well as the publication of the winning piece by Yale University Press and a staged reading.
“This year’s submissions were incredibly talented and aesthetically diverse, and in truth, at least 10 pieces could have been chosen as Yale Drama Series Prize recipients,” said Judge Paula Vogel.
Lynett’s play stood out, she said, because “With metatheatrical acting and direct inclusion of actors and audience, [her] the game exposes the many layers to the notion of race in order to awaken us. “
Vogel added that Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (Too August Wilson) asks poignant questions, including “How do community members in a fictional ‘Bronx Bay’ protect Black? Who defines Black in a closed Black community? And ultimately, by controlling Black, what families and relationships are torn in this new world? “
Francine Horn, President of the David Charles Horn Foundation, said: “From the first page of Rachel’s incredible play, you recognize her exceptional talent for engaging audiences from the start. … Rachel is a brilliant writer who is neither shy nor silent about her deep-seated fears, disappointments and uncertain hopes. My only disappointment was that the play ended. … Thank you, Rachel, for joining our team of outstanding playwrights who won the Yale Drama Series competition. “
Lynett said: “When I wrote Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (Too August Wilson), I wanted to break as many “rules” as possible. As a multiracial, multicultural person, I often feel that in existing I sometimes break the rules and wanted to write a play that reflects that. “
“I also spent a lot of time thinking about how to get catharsis in the race plays and how I might find a way to give the actors of color on stage a way to get that back,” Lynett added. “It has been incredibly humbling to see this play resonate with others when it feels like an argument within me. Every year I look at who won the Yale Drama Series Award and immediately add these plays to my list of reading as a guide to where I think the conversations about theater and drama writing are heading. It’s incredibly surreal to know that this year my name is added to the roster of so many artists I admire and respect for years. “
About Rachel Lynett: Lynett is a playwright, producer and teaching artist. His plays have been presented at Magic Theater, Mirrorbox Theater, Laboratory Theater of Florida, Barrington Stage Company, Theater Lab, Theater Prometheus, Florida Studio Theater, Laughing Pig Theater Company, Capital Repertory Theater, Teatro Espejo, Kennedy Center Page to Stage festival , TheatreSquared, Equity Library Theater, Chicago, Talk Back Theater, American Stage Theater Company, and Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Recently, Last night and He did it makes the Kilroy 2020 list. Lynett is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at Alfred University, Artistic Director of the Rachel Lynett Theater Company, and Managing Director of Page by Page.