Gassner Award 2010

Twenty-two year old Specialist Billie Hunter returns home from the Iraq War without a hand due to an IED. Her teenage sister, Maxine, and her mother, Susan, desperately want to help, but Billie doesn’t want it and keeps quiet about her war experience. On the sly, Maxine reads Billie’s journal from Iraq and learns about her sister’s secret lover as well as a lascivious Commander. Then Franny, their wise-cracking grandmother and cancer survivor, moves into the household with her twenty wigs, love for American Musicals, wine coolers, and cigarettes. Franny promptly suggests to Maxine that she set up Billie with a man as a way to help her find happiness again. Maxine secretly creates Billie’s online dating profile and successfully sets her up with another disabled vet, Jake. Meanwhile, the family is thrown for a loop when Franny announces that she will be ending her life with assistance from the Final Exit Network. Her cancer has returned and she wants her family to support her final wish by throwing her a good-bye party. This threatens to tear the family even further apart. Maxine is caught in the middle, and she has to grow up fast.

Jami BrandliJami Brandli is an award-winning playwright who has had productions across the country. She was a Visiting Artist at the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive, a contributing writer for the Elliot Norton Award-Winning production of PS: Page Me Later, and a Visiting Playwright for the 2009 ATHE Conference. She also has short plays published with Smith & Kraus. Her play, The Sinker, world premiered at HotCity Theatre in St. Louis this spring and will be produced at Rogers State University this fall. In addition to winning the 2010 John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award, Technicolor Life was developed at the 2010 WordBRIDGE Playwrights Lab and selected for the 2010 Ashland New Plays Festival. It was also a finalist for the 2010 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the 2010 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. Jami lives in Pasadena, CA with her husband, Brian Polak, where she’s at work on scripts for both stage and screen and a novel. For her day job, she teaches dramatic writing at Lesley University’s low-residency MFA program in Boston.

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