Winning Student Play Debuts at Frost & Dodd Festival


The winners of this year’s Eleanor Frost and Ruth and Loring Dodd play-writing competition will take the stage at the Warner Bentley Theater in the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

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Sarah Peck ’14 and Sean Kaufman ’13 rehearse a scene from Higher Ground, written by Maia Matsushita ’13 and opening Friday night, July 27, at Warner Bentley Theater. (photo by Jacob Kupferman ’14)

Higher Ground, a romantic comedy by Maia Matsushita ’13, will see a full production by the Dartmouth Department of Theater at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 28, 2012. Matsushita’s play won the Ruth and Loring Dodd Drama Prize for best play by a Dartmouth undergraduate. Theater Professor Peter Hackett will direct.

A staged reading of Conditions, by Laura Neill ’13, and Fall, also by Neill, will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 27. Neill’s plays won the Eleanor Frost Play Festival competition.

In addition, a staged reading of the Frost winners followed by a full production of Higher Ground will take place on Sunday, July 29, beginning at 7 p.m. in Warner Bentley Theater.

Neill’s double win was a first for the Frost and Dodd Festival, says Professor Dan Kotlowitz, chair of the Department of Theater. “I don’t think we’ve ever had one person win both Frost prizes,” he says, adding that the judges read “blind,” and do not see the names of the playwrights before making their decision.

The festival offers a rare opportunity for a young playwright, Kotlowitz says, since working with a professional director can be as rewarding as seeing one’s play produced. “It’s really about the process leading up to (the production) as well as seeing your play up on the stage,” he says.

The Dodd Drama Prize for the best play written by a Dartmouth undergraduate was established in 1969 by a bequest from Clark University Professor Loring Dodd. A cash prize goes to the winner, and the play is fully produced by the Dartmouth Department of Theater and directed by a faculty member.

The Eleanor Frost Play Festival was established in 1950 by a gift from Eleanor Louise Frost, which has been supported by gifts from Professor Henry B. Williams. The winning playwrights, Dartmouth undergraduates, receive a cash prize and their plays are produced as staged readings by the department.

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