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The American Theatre Critics Association has named Darren M. Canady the winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award, in recognition of his play “Brothers of the Dust.” The award will be presented to him at the association’s conference in June in Chicago.
The Osborn Award is meant to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. “Brothers of the Dust” will be included in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook, and Canady will receive a $1,000 cash prize funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association. The award was established in 1993 to honor the memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn.
“Brothers of the Dust” premiered in May 2011 at Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago and was directed by Daniel Bryant. The play “looks at a farm family in 1958 Arkansas: the brother who stayed to work the land and is discouraging his son from attending college, the wastrel whose entrepreneurial dreams imploded, and the poet pursuing a writing career in Chicago. As secrets emerge, the potential for discovery of oil on the family homestead pits each against the other in a clash of values.”
Canady has described the play as being rooted in his own family history.
“I grew up hearing, seeing and listening to family stories that were only told if they could be performed with as much blood, life, exuberance and expressiveness as possible,” he said. “Many of these stories grew out of personal journeys experienced against the backdrop of Jim Crow, the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement… [I] find myself consistently returning to investigations of family, history and social change in the ever-changing landscape of the American Heartland.” READ MORE