Stephen Adly Guir­gis wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama

The China Post - - ARTS - BY MARK KENNEDY

Stephen Adly Guir­gis’s “Be­tween River­side and Crazy” has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama, a play hailed by the judges for us­ing “dark com­edy to con­front ques­tions of life and death.”

The Columbia Uni­ver­sity’s prize board on Mon­day gave the play­wright the prize for his play about a can­tan­ker­ous ex- cop who owns a piece of real es­tate on New York City’s Up­per West Side and makes it a refuge for the hard-luck or­phans who have be­come his sur­ro­gate fam­ily.

“I think it’s so de­serv­ing and he’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary writer on many lev­els,” said Neil Pepe, the artis­tic direc­tor of At­lantic Theater Com­pany, where “Be­tween River­side and Crazy” made its world pre­miere star­ring Stephen McKin­ley Hen­der­son.

Guir­gis, who has been a mem­ber of the off- Broad­way LAByrinth Theatre Com­pany since 1994, had a crit­i­cal hit on Broad­way in 2011 with the sear­ing re­cov­ery story “The Motherf-- With the Hat,” star­ring Chris Rock.

His other plays in­clude “Je­sus Hopped the ‘ A’ Train,” “Our Lady of 121st Street,” “In Ara­bia We’d All Be Kings” and “The Last Days of Ju­das Is­car­iot.” His TV cred­its in­clude writ­ing for NBC’s “UC: Un­der­cover,” David Milch’s CBS drama “Big Ap­ple,” “NYPD Blue” and “The So­pra­nos.”

“He never for­gets about the peo­ple that much of so­ci­ety has left be­hind. I feel like he has a be­lief in real peo­ple and their abil­ity for re­demp­tion,” said Pepe.

“Stephen doesn’t em­bel­lish or spin any­thing. One of the things I find re­mark­able about his writ­ing is he holds him­self to a very high stan­dard of look­ing life straight in the face and telling the truth about what’s go­ing on.”

The drama award, which in­cludes a US$10,000 (NT$311,129) prize, is “for a dis­tin­guished play by an Amer­i­can au­thor, prefer­ably orig­i­nal in its source and deal­ing with Amer­i­can life,” ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines.

The play beat out “Mar­jorie Prime,” by Jor­dan Har­ri­son and “Fa­ther Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, 3),” by SuzanLori Parks.

Pre­vi­ous play­wrights hon­ored in­clude Au­gust Wil­son, Ed­ward Al­bee, Eu­gene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Ten­nessee Wil­liams. Re­cent win­ners in­clude An­nie Baker’s “The Flick” and Ayad Akhtar’s “Dis­graced.”

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