Twin Cities playwright Harrison David Rivers has won the Relentless Award, the $45,000 playwriting prize established in honor of the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Rivers won the vaunted award, announced Thursday, for his new play, “The Bandaged Place,” which had a staged reading in April at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis as part of the Ruth Easton series.
The play is about a man who, with the help of his grandmother and 8-year-old daughter, is trying to heal from an abusive relationship. In an interview, Rivers said the play sprung from his life.
“I was in a relationship with a man that became physically abusive and resulted in me being beaten and stabbed,” he said. New York-based director Saheem Ali helmed the reading with a cast that included Jonathan Burke and Faye Price.
The award caps a big year for Rivers, who had four new works come to the stage in 2018, including the musical “Five Points.” Rivers has been teaching this fall at his undergraduate alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio.
Last year's Relentless Award winner, Aleshea Harris’ “Is God Is,” won an Obie Award for Twin Cities actor Dame-Jasmine Hughes, who reprised the role this fall at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.
There’s no word yet on when or where “The Bandaged Place” may premiere, but Jeremy Cohen, producing artistic director of the Playwrights’ Center, said he was proud it was developed in the Twin Cities.
“The first draft …of this stunningly powerful play absolutely floored me,” he said. “To see it come to life was a thing of exquisitely painful beauty.”