A play by Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee University, has been named a runner-up in the prestigious Jane Chambers Playwriting Contest of the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE).
"The Town with Very Nice People: A Strident Operetta" is the latest of Radulescu’s several plays. Her first one, "Naturalized Woman," received a staged reading at Nora's Playhouse in New York City in October 2010. It was chosen as one of 20 plays out of 240 entries performed as a full production at the Thespis Theater Festival; it was directed by Kimberly Jew, associate professor of theater at W&L.
Two other of Radulescu’s plays had staged readings in 2012 — "The Romanian Reunion: A Country That Devours Its Own" at the Comparative Drama Conference in Baltimore, and "No Hay Luz and the Search for Red Bougainvilleas" at The Playwright Center in Minneapolis.
"The Town with Very Nice People," which has not yet been produced, is described in the ATHE award notice as "[f]eaturing 12 tableaux that draw on epic, festival storytelling, music and innovative use of monologues" and tracing “the transformation of a small bigoted Southern town in America into a utopian town of vibrant diversity.”
Continues the ATHE description, "The play’s explicit, sometimes irreverent exploration of feminist themes and the play's striking, distinctive main character — an émigré writer who has lived in the town for decades and suffered many inequities at the hands of the towns’ people — make this play both innovative and daring. The wit, music, and cross-cultural perspective of this play invite experimental stagings and transformations."
Radulescu also is the author of two best-selling novels, "Black Sea Twilight" (Doubleday, 2010) and "Train to Trieste" (Knopf, 2008), which won the Library of Virginia Fiction Award in 2009. A member of the W&L faculty since 1992, Radulescu founded the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Washington and Lee in 2001 and chaired it for nine years. She currently directs the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at W&L. She won the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2011.
The Jane Chambers Award recognizes feminist plays and performance texts created by women writers that present significant opportunities for female performers. First given in 1984, the award is sponsored by the Women and Theater Program (WTP) with generous support from ATHE, private donors and university friends.