North Bay playwright and former Bohemian and Pacific Sun contributor David Templeton has been named as one of five finalists for the 2022 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) New Play Award and Citations. The award and citations recognize the playwrights of the best scripts that premiered professionally outside of New York City in 2021.
Templeton’s Galatea, which premiered at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park in September of 2021, is a rare theatrical foray into science fiction. It’s set aboard an earth-orbiting space station in the year 2167 where robot specialist Dr. Margaret Mailer is interviewing Seventy-One, a recently discovered “synthetic”. It is the last known survivor of the spaceship Galatea, a craft that mysteriously disappeared over one hundred years prior and whose wreckage had been discovered decades later.
Seventy-One’s memories of events are spotty at best. Whether those lapses of memory are genuine malfunctions or purposeful deceptions is what must be determined as answers are sought to the question “What happened to the Galatea?”
The script, which ATCA judges called “inventive” and “suspenseful”, was originally scheduled to premiere in March of 2020 but fell victim to pandemic-necessitated closures. It was previously recognized with an Honorable Mention by the 2020 Theatre Bay Area Will Glickman Award committee. That Award is usually presented to the Bay Area’s best new produced play, but eligibility was expanded to include plays whose productions were suspended due to the pandemic.
In 1977, ATCA began to honor new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City. No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year. Since 2000, the award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
The five finalists were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country and evaluated by a committee of theater journalists.
The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented on April 9 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind.
The American Theatre Critics Association is the only national association of professional theater critics in the United States. Since the inception of its New Play Award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Lynn Nottage, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Moises Kaufman, Craig Lucas, Nilo Cruz, Lauren Yee, Horton Foote and Qui Nguyen. Last year’s honoree was Her Honor, Jane Byrne by J. Nicole Brooks.