Drama Students Picked for the Samuel French Short Play Festival

Playwriting student Claire Kiechel. Photo by Brad Raimondo.

From over 900 submissions, Drama playwriting alum Charlotte Rahn-Lee (’08) and Drama playwriting student Claire Kiechel are among the final 40 plays selected to participate in the 37th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. The plays will be presented at The Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row, New York City, October 23-27 with a full program of plays performed each night. Rahn-Lee’s Private Moments of (Re)Creation will be presented (directed by Drama directing alum Samantha Shechtman ’08) along with Kiechel’s Wolf Play.

Kiechel’s submission came from her class work at Drama. “I developed Wolf Play in [Playwriting faculty member] Michael Weller’s class,” she notes. “It’s really thanks to him and the feedback of my wonderful classmates that I figured out the piece. I’m so thrilled to be included in the forty finalists and proud to be representing The New School for Drama.”

Playwriting alumna Charlotte Rahn-Lee. Photo by Christopher Smith.

One or more of the 40 presented plays will be selected to advance to the finals on Sunday, October 28 by a panel of judges consisting of a New York theatrical agent, a Samuel French playwright, and a prominent artistic director.  From these finalists, six will be selected for publication and licensing by Samuel French, Inc.

The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival started in 1975 and is Manhattan’s oldest, continuous short play festival.  The Festival has given emerging playwrights the opportunity to have their work produced with the support of such theaters as The Public Theater, The Royal Court, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea Theatre, The Living Theatre and Naked Angels. In many cases, Festival participation has sparked agent contracts for the finalists and many have gone on to win major playwriting awards and honors, as well as have major theatrical productions of their works staged.

The New School for Drama has been well-represented in past Samuel French festivals, having many entries selected as semi-finalists and finalists. Past winners include: two-time winner Bekah Brunstetter (’07), Josh Beerman (‘11), E.J.C Calvert (’10), Matthew Kelty (’02), Kitt Lavoie (’01), Gabe McKinley (’09), Janine Nabers (’08), Ted Nusbaum (’06), and Daniel Pearle (’12).  Drama has had such a strong showing these last few years that The New School for Drama and Samuel French have instituted an annual staged reading series for the industry that honors and supports the work of our emerging alumni playwrights.