Ensemble Theatre announces collegiate playwright finalists

PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has announced the three finalists of the second PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, held in memory of the former writer, critic and arts advocate, Jackie Demaline.

Jackie Demaline

The finalists:

  • “To Saints and Stars” by Jordan Ramirez Puckett
  • “The Black Boy in Pink” by Isaiah Mikel-Reaves
  • “M’s Republic” by Peyton Wright

A brief virtual excerpt of the finalists’ submissions will be showcased online June 16-18 on ETC’s Facebook page. The winner of the competition will be announced June 22, followed by a full reading of their script to be showcased online for only 24 hours.

A reading of the winning submission was originally scheduled to be performed as a part of ETC’s Studio Series the first week of May to coincide with Jackie Demaline’s birthday. However, with COVID restrictions, ETC was forced to delay these performances until arrangements could be made to adapt this presentation to a digital format and to include excerpts of the finalists’ pieces.


About the plays:

“M’s Republic” by Peyton Wright
Through the lessons of Plato’s Republic, “M’s Republic” explores the life of high school student Mia, her boyfriend and classmates, and her teacher, and how the diversion of good intentions leads to their downfall.

“To Saints and Stars” by Jordan Ramirez Puckett
Exploring the intersection between science and faith, the story follows lifelong best friends Sofía, a NASA astronaut, and Zoe, the wife of a Greek Orthodox priest. Their lives are changed forever when Zoe becomes pregnant with her first child and Sofía is chosen for the first manned mission to Mars.

“The Black Boy in Pink” by Isaiah Mikel-Reaves
This is the the story of Wyatt, a black, gay male sex-worker who hustles against the backdrop of 1959 Cincinnati, Ohio. As his life becomes entangled with the legacy of a wealthy, white family, will Wyatt be able to love himself in a world that doesn’t love him?


About the playwrights:

Peyton Wright

Peyton Wright is a rising junior at Xavier University where she is a candidate for a BA in Theatre, as well as pursuing a minor in Deaf Studies. Her recent performance history on the Xavier Theatre stage consists of “Urinetown: The Musical,” “Company,” and “Chicago.” Wright has also fulfilled many roles backstage and is an employee of Xavier’s scene shop. At her alma mater, Presentation Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, she had opportunities to explore theatre through performance, writing, and directing.

Jordan Ramirez Puckett

Jordan Ramirez Puckett is a Chicana playwright and lighting designer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She often writes about being caught between two identities and our intrinsic desire for human connection, no matter how brief. Puckett most recently participated in the 2018-19 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series. Her work has also been produced and/or developed by 2Cents Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, Custom Made Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre Company, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and San Francisco Playhouse, among others. Her plays include “To Saints and Stars,” “A Driving Beat,” “Las Pajaritas,” “Restore,” and “Inevitable.” A graduate of Northwestern University and the former associate artistic director at San Francisco Playhouse, Puckett recently received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University.

Isaiah Mikel-Reaves

Isaiah Mikel-Reaves is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, he graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2020. Mikel-Reaves’ plays have been staged and read by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at Lincoln Center, Vintage Soul Productions of Connecticut, and many others. He has been awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship and a Cincinnati CityBeat Critics Pick. In the fall, he will continue his pursuit of an MFA at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

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