Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest

By May 8, 2019 February 19th, 2020 No Comments

About the Contest:

The Castillo Theatre sponsors the Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest to encourage the writing of progressive plays that engage the political, social and cultural questions affecting the world today and/or historical events and issues that impact our communities. The contest welcomes scripts from all countries and cultures that experiment with form and seek new ways of seeing and experiencing theatrical performance. In addition to an award, winning scripts are given professional readings at Castillo.

Submissions  are now closed for the Mario Fratti – Fred Newman Political Play Contest as we redesign the contest.  Details on the submission process will be posted in June of 2020.

2019’s winners:

Mitigating Damages by Marilynn Barner Anselmi

About the play: Julie works as a court-appointed lawyer for pregnant girls under 18 who want to obtain an abortion without parental consent. Julie and her paralegal Rhonda take on the cases of Enaya, a Palestinian-American concealing her condition from her strict Muslim family – and Taneesha, an African American who lives with her equally strict grandmother. While shepherding the two girls through their trial and appeals process, Julie undergoes painful fertility treatments and Rhonda fights to conceal her own past traumas. Mitigating Damages follows these four women and how they form an unconventional web of support through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

About the playwright: Marilynn Barner Anselmi is a playwright based in Rocky Mount, NC. Marilynn’s plays have been performed across the country, and have been named semi-finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Conference three times. She has been published in three national journals, and her short film about the NC Eugenics Program, You Wouldn’t Expect, was selected for six national and international film festivals. Her stage adaptation of You Wouldn’t Expect was a finalist for Playwrights First, National Arts Club and received its professional debut at The August Wilson Center (Pittsburgh, PA) in March, 2016 and its NYC premier at The American Bard Theatre in 2018. She is a member of The Dramatist Guild of America.

American Summer Squash: Katrina 2005 Raw by Don Wilson Glenn

About the play: Rev. Ratcliff La Blount flees New Orleans with his son Slidell and daughter in-law Treme Sweet 16) to escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. They take refuge in his old Texas hometown with Ratcliff’s stepmother Lucille, but escaping the storm was just the beginning. As they hear news of their beloved city flooding and crumbling, the La Blounts are forced to confront their relationships with each other, and with a world that is changing faster than they can imagine. American Summer Squash grapples with what it means to be a family when you have lost everything, and how to find a way to carry on when the rest of the country looks right through you.

About the playwright: Don Wilson Glenn is the current Artistic Director/President of the Angelina Community Theatre in Lufkin, TX and Co-Executive Producer of theatre categories for the Vanport Mosaic Festival in Portland, OR. He received his BA from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Mr. Glenn is an award-winning playwright with 4 AUDELCO Awards Nominations, a 2003 Outer Theatre Critic Nomination and the 2002 AUDELCO Award for Excellence in Black Theatre and Playwright of the Year for his play American Menu. His plays have been produced across the county including by The New Federal Theatre (NYC), Theatre for the New City (NYC), New York City Fringe Festival (NYC), Passin Art’s (OR), Ensemble Theatre (TX), and Classic Stage Company (CA), Chicago Black Theatre Company (Ill). Mr. Glenn is most proud of his work with the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, The Billy Rose Theatre Collection from 1989 – 2001 as the lead archivist for the Off-Off Broadway Collection – Archives. His life work has been about building and bridging communities to give support to everyone’s voice and space for everyone’s story. Glenn is also the Democratic County Chair for Polk County Texas and has served on the board of Texas Jail Project as an advocate for better conditions for Texas inmates.


The winners of the 2019 Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest were chosen from among the six finalists. The other four finalists were:

  1. Fixing Mother’s Day by Cliff Blake
  2. Marianas Trench by Scott Sickles
  3. World by Elspeth Tilley
  4. Sheltered by Cate Willey

Contest Founders:

Mario Fratti is an internationally acclaimed playwright and drama critic. Author of such works as Obama 44, Suicide, The Cage, The Return, The Academy, Mafia, Races, and The Bridge, he is best known for his musical Nine (inspired by Fellini’s famous film, 81/2) which in its original production in 1982 won the O’Neill Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards, eight Drama Desk Awards and five Tony Awards; and in the 2003 revival, won three Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Tony Awards. Fratti was a recipient of the Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre in 2000. Fratti’s nearly seventy plays have received some 600 productions in two dozen countries and have been translated into many languages. Fratti was born in Italy, but has been living in New York City since 1963. In addition to his writing achievements, he also serves as New York drama critic for nine European newspapers, and is a professor emeritus of Italian literature at Hunter College.

Fred Newman was a philosopher, psychotherapist, political strategist, and the author of over 40 postmodern political plays and musicals. Newman designed and directed most of his work at the Castillo Theatre, which he founded, and where he served as artistic director from 1989 to 2005 and was playwright-in-residence until his death in 2011. In addition to being staged at Castillo, Newman’s plays have been produced by the New Federal Theatre, at both the Philadelphia and San Francisco Fringe Festivals and at six of the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association. Newman produced and directed the work of many leading playwrights and performance artists. One of the foremost American directors of the plays of the late Heiner Müller, Newman directed nine productions of Müller’s texts, including the American premiere of Germania 3 Ghosts at Dead Man in 2001.