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Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, a meta-theatrical work that starts out as an African-American family comedy and morphs into a twisty discourse on race, representation, identity and performance, has been awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Pulitzer board called Fairview “a hard-hitting drama that examines race in a highly conceptual, layered structure, ultimately bringing audiences into the actors’ community to face deep-seated prejudices.”
Drury’s play was commissioned by Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California and Soho Rep in New York, playing sold-out engagements at both venues in 2018, propelled by stellar reviews. The production is scheduled to return June 2-30 via Brooklyn’s Theatre for a New Audience, before opening in November at London’s Young Vic.
Earlier this year, Fairview won the 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an international award carrying a cash prize of $25,000, recognizing outstanding writing for the theater by women working in the English language.
Brooklyn-based playwright Drury’s other works include We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915; Social Creatures; and Marys Seacole, which just completed an off-Broadway premiere run at Lincoln Center.
The other Pulitzer finalists in this year’s drama category were Clare Barron’s Dance Nation, a passionate exploration of early female adolescence that premiered off-Broadway last May; and Heidi Schreck’s sui generis marriage of personal memoir and civic-minded political reflection, What the Constitution Means to Me, which recently opened on Broadway following a highly successful downtown run.
Last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama went to Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, a probing examination of the human condition through the lives of two people with physical disabilities and their caregivers. Other recent winners have included Lynn Nottage’s drama documenting the bitter struggles of Rust Belt workers, Sweat, in 2017, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical blockbuster Hamilton, which breathes invigorating contemporary life into the history of America’s founding fathers, in 2016.
This year’s honors across journalism and the arts were announced Monday by Pulitzer Administrator Dana Canedy at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York. The award to Fairview, which includes a gold medal and $15,000 cash, marks the third consecutive year in which the Pulitzer Prize for Drama has been presented to a woman.
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