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From the Headlines to the Stage
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Playwright and dramaturg Sheri Wilner will be in residence as the Douglass Wallop fellow at Washington College the week of March 20 through April 3, and will offer a public talk and a student-performed excerpt from her play Kingdom City.
Wilner’s talk — “Ripped from the Headlines: A Playwriting Craft Talk & Demonstration,” — will take place Tuesday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m. in the Rose O’ Neill Literary House, 407 Washington Avenue. She will focus on how playwrights can use newspaper headlines and stories as source materials to create dynamic works for the stage.
On Thursday, April 2, at 4:30 p.m., at the Literary House, she will host a short performance and discussion of Kingdom City, which was inspired by a New York Times article about a Missouri school district that in 2006 cancelled a high school production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. When Kingdom City premiered at La Jolla Playhouse last fall, the Los Angeles Times wrote, “In its striking intensity and genuinely thoughtful content, playwright Sheri Wilner’s seriocomic study of the contradictions and ramifications of censorship, though still gelling, is as potentially major a new American play as we’ve seen since Richard Greenberg took on homophobia and racism in ‘Take Me Out.’” Washington College students will perform a short selection from the play and Wilner will lead the discussion afterward. As part of her Wallop Fellowship, she also will hold individual consultations with select drama students during her week on campus.
Wilner’s other plays include Father Joy, Hunger, Bake Off, and Little Death of a Salesman, as well as several other full-length plays and a dozen one acts. Her work has been produced by theaters throughout the United States and internationally. She was twice awarded the prestigious Heideman Award from the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She attended Cornell University and received her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University.
The Douglass Wallop Fellowship at The Rose O’Neill Literary House is awarded biennially, enabling drama students at Washington College to work with and learn from successful dramatists. The Fellowship is named for the American novelist and playwright Douglass Wallop (1920-1985). He authored 13 works, including The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (1954) which he and George Abbott later adapted into the Tony Award-winning musical “Damn Yankees.” A graduate of the University of Maryland, Wallop was for many years a resident of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
—Catalina Righter ’17