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New Play by W&L's Radulescu Wins Award, Staged Reading in New York

The new play by Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin. A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee University, won an honorable mention in the 2014 Jane Chambers playwriting contest. “Exile is My Home: An Immigrant Fairytale” will receive a staged reading in New York City on Oct. 20 and 21.

The award recognizes plays and performance texts by women that present a feminist perspective and contain significant opportunities for female performers. The competition was sponsored by the Women in Theater Program and the Association of Theatre in Higher Education. Radulescu’s play was chosen from 114 entries and rose through three rounds of adjudication to become one of three honorable mentions. The jury noted the following about the play: “moving, epic, feminist, and comedic, this highly theatrical play evokes the human, social and political complexities of exile with depth, humor and adaptive re-invention.”

Her play will be performed at Theaterlab, an experimental off-off-Broadway theater in Manhattan, as a developed staged reading—a rehearsed performance with elements of a full production such as costumes, props and live music.

The play will be directed by Marcy Arlin, artistic director and founder of the OBIE Award-winning Immigrants’ Theater Project, who has produced or directed more than 200 plays about the American and international immigrant experience.

“Marcy Arlin’s work is very synergistic with my work because several of my plays, including ‘Exile is My Home,’ deal with issues of displacement and exile,” said Radulescu. “In terms of the staged reading, her direction of my play is the most exciting aspect.”

The performance will feature an ethnically and racially diverse cast of well-known professional and Equity theater artists, including Kathryn Kates, known for her recurring role on “Seinfeld,” who has a recurring role in the Netflix/Lionsgate series “Orange Is the New Black.”

Radulescu is a political refugee who fled her native Romania for the United States in 1983. As a playwright, she addresses mainly the immigrant experience. Of her new play, about two women traveling across galaxies, she said: “Their journey is a symbol of the immigrant experience; a sense of loss, yearning and searching for a home. It draws from the present large political issue of refugees, immigration, displacement and loss of home through the very personal and unique stories of these two women and their extraordinary journey.

“It gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to be recognized for my playwriting, because I’m building my name as a playwright little by little,” continued Radulescu. “I’ve been writing plays for some time now, and it’s exciting but also very challenging.”

Radulescu’s project was funded by a Lenfest Grant and by the Provost’s Office at Washington and Lee.

Radulescu’s play “The Town with Very Nice People: A Strident Operetta” won recognition as a runner-up for the 2013 Jane Chambers Award. Her other plays include “The Virgins of Seville” (2014), and “Naturalized Woman” (2012).

She has also written two best-selling novels: “Black Sea Twilight” (Doubleday 2010 and 2011) and the award-winning “Train to Trieste” (Knopf 2008 and 2009). She has completed her third novel, “Country of Red Azaleas.”

She has authored, edited and co-edited several scholarly books on theater, exile and representations of women. Her most recent work is “Theater of War and Exile” (forthcoming from McFarland).

Radulescu is the co-founding chair of W&L’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and presently heads the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at W&L. She is the 2011 recipient of the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award. She received her B.A. in English from Loyola University of Chicago, and her M.A. in comparative literature and Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from the University of Chicago.