BEST PLAY: FLYING SOLO WITH IBD by Spencer Opal-Levine took the festival’s top award–a $1,000 cash scholarship–with this story about a teen with an invisible disability flying unaccompanied to Washington, D.C. Spencer’s play, THE DRILL, was Runner-Up in last year’s Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival, which followed his 2018 win, THE QUADRENNIAL BET, also a Runner-Up. Spencer is a senior at Pine View. His plays have been produced locally, nationally, and internationally. Loosely based on Spencer’s own experiences living with Crohn’s disease, FLYING SOLO WITH IBD won the Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery award in 2020 but due to COVID-19, had its Washington, DC debut postponed. The play also won Florida Studio Theatre’s 2020 Young Playwrights Festival, but that performance was cancelled for safety reasons as well. The cast included Thomas Aposporos II, Donna DeFant, Aden Russell, Jan Wallace, Tom Aposporos and Michael Bille. Director Preston Boyd also played the pilot on this winning journey.
RUNNER-UP: FERMATA, Elaina Bayard’s play about a young person’s fear of a wrist injury threatening her career as a pianist. Elaina, a Sophomore at Bradenton’s Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, receives a $500 cash scholarship. She’s been interested in writing since she wrote a collection of bad poetry as a Christmas gift for her father in elementary school. When she isn’t busy with school work or daydreaming, she enjoys swimming, playing piano, and ranting about the latest book she’s read to anyone who will listen. She also finds joy in editing for the literary magazine Polyphony Lit. The cast of FERMATA included Ann Morrison and Sunny D Smith. The play was directed by Blake Walton.
The cash scholarship gifts for Best Play, Runner-up, and $100 each to the remaining finalists were made possible by a gift from The Nancy Schneider Treib Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.