A big thank you to the nearly 600 playwrights who submitted their work to our playwriting prize call in January and February. We know there has been delay after delay in sharing our selection, but we hope you all understand! We are pleased to finally share that the winner of the 2020 Talk Back Theatre Playwriting Prize is Karen Saari for her play 'RAIN ON FIRE.
ABOUT KAREN SAARI
Karen Saari’s In a Clearing celebrated its professional world premiere via Magnetic Theatre Company in Asheville, NC in Aug. 2018 and was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Conference. In a Clearing was a 2015 Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival winner, was awarded a PlayLab at the 2017 Last Frontier Theatre Conference and has received readings and development via Playwrights Center and Madison, Wisc.’s Workshop Stage. In a Clearing also helped Saari advance to finalist for the 2017 ATHE Award for Excellence in Playwriting.
She was awarded the 2019 Br!nk Festival Residency Award (two-week workshop and series of public staged readings) by Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theaterworks for her play ‘Rain on Fire, an early draft of which was a “second-rounder” (top 20%) for the 2018 Austin Film Festival. She was commissioned in 2018 by Music Theatre of Madison to co-write a musical, Ten Days in a Madhouse, had its first public reading in Dec. 2019, to be followed by a workshop in 2020 and world premiere in 2021.
Her comedy Bad in Bed (A Fairy Tale) had its developmental premiere in 2018 at Acadiana Repertory Theatre of Lafayette, LA. Bad in Bed was also a semi-finalist for the Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival.
Her one-act play Gun Story was selected for the 2020 William Inge Festival. One-act Joyland has been performed in Chicago (Otherworld Theatre), St. Louis (Stray Dog), Buffalo (Buffalo State College), Madison and LaCrosse, WI and the Minneapolis area. A Robot, a Clown and a Turban and The Ones Who Stay have been performed from Newport, WA, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, PA.
Karen is a content strategist, voice talent, actor and mother of two. She is a member of Dramatists Guild and Playwrights Center, and will complete her MFA in playwriting from Augsburg University (Minneapolis) in 2021.
ABOUT 'RAIN ON FIRE
Marie comes home to plan her addicted mother Lorraine’s funeral. "Rain" left a surprising final wish for Marie and her cousin Caleb, a meth user, to fulfill together. Marie struggles with her anger and loss in a tense, and often funny, play that deals with the opiate crisis in Michigan's northwoods.
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