Susan Force and the School for Lady Bride Snatchers by Caroline Hewitt has won The 2023 Laboratory Theater of Florida’s Louise Wigglesworth Excellence in Playwriting Award.
Two additional plays are finalists: The Thomas Hardy Project by Becca Blackmore and Sand Man by G. William Zorn. Concert readings of these three works will be held on May 11, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.
Susan Force and the School for Lady Bride Snatchers by Caroline Hewitt: Set in 1818 England, the play is inspired by the historical occurrence of heiress snatching: young women of means across the country were abducted by nefarious wastrels and forced into marriage for money or sport or both.
In order to spend the rest of her life with the poor scholar she loves and avoid marrying a horrid Duke, Susan Force and her maid Netta make it look like she’s been kidnapped and married to Lord Alforth. The plan works, but the poor scholar breaks Susan’s heart, so she and Netta decide to open a school to help wealthy young women ‘self-snatch.’
The clandestine school is wildly successful until the students attempt to further combat the patriarchy by kidnapping a Duke, and this is where it all goes terribly wrong.
Caroline Hewitt is a playwright, audiobook narrator and actress.
Her adaptation of Howards End made the 2020 Kilroys List and was developed at the 2019 JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage and the 2018 What’s Next Fest at The Theater at Monmouth. It was supposed to have its world premiere at Portland Center Stage in the spring of 2020, and at The Dorset Theater Festival in the summer of 2020, but both were canceled because of the pandemic. Her adaptation of The House of Mirth was workshopped at the Dramatist Guild’s Friday Night Footlights. Susan Force and the School for Lady Bride Snatchers is her first original play.
Caroline is also an award-winning audiobook narrator with 70+ credits for major national and international publishers. As an actress, she has appeared on Broadway in Junk and The Front Page, and worked extensively Off-Broadway and regionally. Television credits include: The Black List, New Amsterdam, FBI: Most Wanted, Harlem, The I-Land, and When They See Us. She has her MFA in Acting from ACT and her BA in French from Vassar.
The Thomas Hardy Project by Becca Blackmore. Jada and Abigail, two very different high school senior girls, become friends as they write a paper together about Thomas Hardy and his works. When a scandal about one of the girls explodes, the girls rage at the parallels in the school’s response and the cruelty aimed at women in the novels they’re studying, bonding even as they compete for academic acclaim.
Becca Blackmore is the co-author of the musicals Quiz Bowl (formerly Academia Nuts Best New Musical, NYMF 2014), Snow Way Out (York Theatre Company Developmental Reading Series 2016), The Peculiar Tale of the Prince of Bohemia and the Society of Desperate Victorians (Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals 2019), Hatter (Indiana University 2014, NYU 2011, Ronald M. Ruble New Play Prize Finalist, 2013), Heist, Grandma’s Last Hurrah, and Period Piece (The Marilyn Monroe Theatre 2010) and the author of the plays President Mom (with Dan Marshall, Notre Dame College 2016, Caryl Crane Youth Theatre 2015, ‘Iolani School 2015), Bedtime (The Blank Theatre Living Room Series 2015), Baby Factory, Dead Behind the Eyes or The Ingenue Play, Peaceful Warrior, The Thomas Hardy Project, and Over-Ripe (LAFPI SWAN Day 2014, Manhattan Shakespeare Project 2011). Her works have been finalists for the Princess Grace Award, the Kleban Prize, the Jane Chambers Prize, the Leah Ryan FEWW Prize, the Todd McNerney New Play Prize, the NuVoices Playwriting Prize, the Trustus Playwrights Festival, and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival. Her play President Mom won the 2014 Ronald M. Ruble New Play prize and a 2015 Tam & Young Arts Chair Visiting Artist Residency in Honolulu. Becca’s songs have been performed on six continents, but she hopes that Antarctica will happen at some point, too. She holds both a BFA and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Sand Man by G. William Zorn. In 2007, a boy named Terry was shot and killed for giving another boy a valentine. When no major news outlet picks up the story, Robert, an entertainment reporter for the Chicago Tribune, attempts to get it into print, to no avail. Obsessing over this indifference, he doesn’t sleep for fourteen days, does physical harm to himself, and ends up in a clinic for sleep disorders. What is it about this kid’s death that Robert has taken so personally?
Zorn’s plays include Sick Day, Metropolis Has No Superman, The Speed of Falling Objects, and Sand Man. His work has been produced and/or developed by Theatre Babylon, City 3 Theatre, Fancy Pants Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory and Pride Films and Plays. Awards include: Mark Twain Prize from the Kennedy Center, two-time winner of the Gwen Frostic Playwriting Award and Special Mention of the Carlo Annoni International Prize. He earned a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in English and Playwriting and a Master’s Degree from Ohio University in Playwriting. He currently has a collection of monologues available on Amazon, entitled Overheard Conversations.
Louise Wigglesworth is a theater and visual artist who writes plays about other artists; actors, painters, musicians, writers, and their special journeys. In her current full-length project, Beautiful Island, she explores the science fiction/fantasy genre. Previous productions include Real Art as part of City Theatre of Miami’s Summer Shorts and Island Shorts, Real Art and Anywhere from Here by Manhattan’s Theatre of Light, Coercion by Playwrights Round Table, Seasonal Migrations at Foundation Theater, and Drawing the Human Form at Cultural Park Theatre. Her stage adaptation of Albert Camus’ The Plague premiered at The Laboratory Theater of Florida. A Proper Goodbye in the Shade of Old Trees and No Bad Dance enjoyed public readings at Theatre Conspiracy and The Migrant’s House was selected for a workshop and performance at The Laboratory Theater. One acts Second Movement, Anywhere From Here, Penumbra alon. with Real Art, were winners in the Naples Players annual competitions. Recently Lemon Twist was a finalist in Bonita Springs Art Center’s Stage It! Festival, and will be published in its anthology. Louise’s youth plays Seeing Red, Tides, and In My Brother’s Name have had productions in schools and children’s theater groups. She has received grants from The American Association of University Women to support development of high school students’ work and was the teaching artist for playwriting in The Rauschenberg Project at Laboratory Theater. Louise is a member of The Dramatists Guild. Her plays are available to view on the New Play Exchange.
Performance dates are:
May 11 at 8 pm – The Thomas Hardy Project by Becca Blackmore (finalist)
May 12 at 8 pm – Sand Man by G. William Zorn (finalist)
May 13 at 8 pm – Susan Force and the School for Lady Bride Snatchers by Caroline Hewitt (winner)
Tickets are $10 each for students and $15 for adults. Additionally, a pass for all three readings is available for $20 for students and $30 for adults. This event is included in the Season Pass. For tickets, guests may call the box office at 239-218-0481 or go online at www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com.