My play, Oldies on the Rocks, won Washington University in St. Louis' A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Contest and was performed there. See the article from the University newspaper below.
Hotchner contest-winning student play to be performed
Hotchner contest-winning student play to be performed. The truth about what really happens on prom night will be laid out like a freshly pressed tux this month in "Oldies on the Rocks," an original play by senior Daniel Sullivan, winner of Washington University's 1996 A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition.
Students in the Performing Arts Department in Arts and Sciences will bring Sullivan's work to life at 8 p.m. April 24, 25 and 26 and at 2 p.m. April 27 in The Drama Studio, Room 208 Mallinckrodt Center.
"Oldies on the Rocks" follows a group of teen-age boys and girls through the rites of passage of prom night at an all-boys Catholic school. The play is told in three scenes: dinner before the dance; driving to the dance; and the party after the dance. "The dance itself is skipped," said Sullivan, who is majoring in English. "It's the activity surrounding the prom that, in my experience, is what everyone is really looking forward to. Avoid the dance -- it's boring."
The play is presented as a slice of life, explained Sullivan, with multiple story lines tied together by the common experience of the prom. The work explores issues and emotions important to young people and presents teen-agers in a light seldom found in the popular media. "Young people are typically portrayed as fairly non-thinking," he said. "You get the drugs and rock 'n' roll, but you don't get the brains. My intention was to portray the thoughtfulness as well as the craziness."
As part of the playwriting competition, "Oldies on the Rocks" was performed as a staged reading last year. Reactions to the work varied depending on the age and experiences of the viewer, Sullivan said. "When my mother saw the reading, she turned to my little brother -- who is still in high school -- and said, 'Is that what goes on in my basement?' My dad smiled and said, 'It reminds me of my college days.'
"There is a sense of nostalgia in the play," Sullivan continued. "Some people will smile and think how great it used to be. Others will look for a deeper meaning. I wanted it to appeal to a variety of different people on a variety of different levels."
Director Annamaria Pileggi, artist in residence in performing arts, describes the work as multilayered and complex. "It's very entertaining and funny, but it's also very dark," Pileggi said. "At the end of the play, you wind up questioning everything that you thought was funny. I want the audience to have a very good time, but when they leave the theater, I want to see some furrowed brows."
Sullivan said he is happy with how his play has evolved from words written on paper to words spoken by actors. "It's fun seeing people interpret in ways I had not thought of."
The annual A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition is open to all current Washington University students and those who graduated within one year of the competition's date. The staged-reading element of the competition was implemented last year, and Sullivan's work was one of two plays selected to be presented in this format. From the readings, his play was chosen for a fully staged production this year. Two new plays currently are being selected in this year's competition for staged readings in the fall.
Admission is $8; $6 for senior citizens. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre box office, (314) 935-6543, and at all MetroTix outlets, (314) 534-1111. For more information, call (314) 935-6543.
-- From http://wupa.wustl.edu/record_archive/1997/04-17-97/6761.html (1997).