"Isaac, I am," Mary Steelsmith's Helford Prize-winning play, is an official selection in the Women Playwrights International Conference, to be held August 15-20, in Stockholm, Sweden. Ms. Steelsmith will travel to Stockholm and present her award-winning drama to other women playwrights, directors, actors and producers from nearly 50 countries around the globe. She is one of only fourteen women playwrights selected to represent the United States of America at this event.
"What an honor it is to have “Isaac, I am” chosen to be presented at this conference! The opportunity to meet with and learn from so many female dramatists from other countries and cultures is a rare and wonderful one." she said.
"Isaac, I am," a sordid tale of love, life, death and AOL, was selected as the winner from more than 300 original plays submitted to the Helford Prize national playwriting contest, officiated by Jacksonville University. It was chosen by Bruce Helford, the creative force behind The Drew Carey Show, Roseanne, and other successful television shows. Helford said, "I chose Isaac, I am' because it is sharp, relevant and disturbing." Mary Steelsmith has the distinction of being the only woman to win this literary award.
"Isaac, I am" has been produced by the Raconteur Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, and most recently by the Women's Theatre Organization at the University of Southern California (USC).
Steelsmith, who grew up in Boise, Idaho, “two cow fields away from the Broadway Drive-In movie theater,” has her plays produced throughout the United States and internationally. Her ten-minute comedy, "HAPPY AND GAY," the tale of two women stressing over how to decorate their church's fellowship hall for its first same-sex wedding, won the Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition. "THE OLD MAN AND THE SEED" placed first in the Hewlett-Packard Action Theatre contest in Singapore. She had entered the competition hoping to score some toner for her HP printer. Instead, she was delighted to learn ‘first prize’ included the trip of a lifetime, to Singapore where she saw her play produced.
"I am overwhelmed and grateful for the generosity of my family and friends who are helping to finance this trip.” said Steelsmith. “While it will be an expensive journey, the experience of this conference in beautiful Stockholm will be priceless.”
Mary Steelsmith is a member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, the Dramatists Guild and the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. She is married to the dashing Steve Lee and is owned by two cats.
When there, ask someone: there is a hilltop in Stockholm from where I think Strindberg may have written a poem. He mentions being able to hear five churches church bells form it. And I believe today, because Stockholm is still that quiet of a city, you can still hear them all.
To call this journey amazing would be a gross understatement. Where else could I have breakfast with an Australian, Nigerian and Italian -- all of us agreeing that the "coffee" and the "Kaffee" canisters hold the very same thing?
The reading of "Isaac, I am" went really well yesterday, with 15 requests for the script so far.
My lack of language skills doesn't seem to be much of a problem -- after all, we all do speak "Playwright!"
The following is something I've sharing with a few organizations of women playwrights. Thought you might appreciate it.
I was fortunate to catch a little lightning the other day... something happened that totally galvanized us. Many of us were caught by a surprise downpour of rain and the lobby was very crowded. It seems higher forces were at work here. I do believe the rain brought us together to become something extraordinary.
The conviction of the Pussy Riot girls in Russia was announced here by Australian playwright Van Badham. Many attendees stopped what they were doing and marched down the streets of Stockholm to the city center in protest. And appropriately enough, the rain stopped.
I caught the announcement on my little camera and moments later, got a statement from Van. Excuse my lack of film making expertise.