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After several months of reading, evaluating, and deliberating, the judging panel for the 2020 Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest has announced a winner: Dead Bear by John Gavey.
The script - a dreamlike film noir mystery - emerged victorious over four other finalists in an unusually close competition. "We had some difficult choices to make," says Post Productions Managing Director Michael K. Potter. "We entered the final round of deliberation divided, but not by much: all of the judges had the same scripts in their top slots, just in a different order. There was just something unique and exciting about Gavey's submission."
Guest judge Simon du Toit, who also served as a guest judge in 2019, agrees: "What really grabbed my attention about Dead Bear was the writer's use of poetry. It's not that the central character is a great poet. He's not. But the poems don't only reveal his inner world. They also advance the action of the play, and that is fresh and unexpected. The script is a moody homage to film noir with a detective who's haunted by this one case above all others. It works as a murder mystery with a twisty ending, but the journey to that place is original."
Gavey's was not a name known to Post Productions, as this year marked the first time he'd submitted to the contest, and he hasn't had any other scripts produced or published. The playwright describes himself as someone who's always dreamed of being a writer. "Ideas continually come to me like bugs on a windshield," he says. "The pandemic has given me the time to sit for hours and bang my head on the keyboard and finally write something". Although he's admired theatre since grade 13, thanks to his teacher Mrs. Courtland, and has always been encouraged by his wife, Joanne, Dear Bear is the first script he's ever completed.
John Gavey's Dead Bear will kick off Post Productions' fifth season in February 2021. Stay alert for more news about the show - including audition dates!