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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Western student wins regional award for his play

Teague Parker stands on the campus of Western Washington University, Jan. 16. // Photo by Daniel Liddicoet
Teague Parker stands on the campus of Western Washington University, Jan. 16. // Photo by Daniel Liddicoet

What does a husband do when he’s discovered his wife of 18 years has committed a sexual act with another man?

The answer for Carmichael is to hire Diggery, a wannabe thug, to kill Carmichael in front of his supposedly cheating wife. However, when Diggery shows up an hour early to this low-key execution, it causes Carmichael to converse with his killer until his wife returns.

This is the world that awaits the audience of the dark comedy “Smooth, Smooth Jazz,” written by Western student Teague Parker. On Dec. 4 2015, Parker learned that the play earned the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VII full-length play award.

The award is given out by the National Playwriting Program, an organization that brings together faculty from theater departments across the country to read submitted plays. Awards are divided into categories ranging from 10 minute shorts to full-length pieces, like Parker’s.

As a part of the award, the play will be read onstage at the 2016 Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival held February 15-19 in Denver, Colorado.

“I was amazed,” Parker said of what it felt like to receive the KCACTF award. “It was this moment of, ‘Holy crap.’ You never imagine it’s going to happen. I felt honored and thankful for all the people who had helped me along the way.”

Parker is a theatre major and has been writing plays for the past two years. “Smooth, Smooth Jazz” is his first play.

“One day, the first line came to me and I just wrote it down making sure, ‘If I do this I’ll write something at some point.’ But that line made me write another line and then another one, and then six days later I had 90 pages of a draft of the play.” Parker said.

The same day that Parker received an email informing him that his play had won the Region VII full-length play award, “Smooth, Smooth Jazz” had a staged reading put on by Student Theatre Productions. People from the community were invited to listen to the play read aloud in Western’s Performing Arts Center lobby and then given the opportunity to give feedback on the script.

“You could feel it in the audience at the end of the show, that everyone had been on this journey with the characters and everyone had felt when the certain moments for these characters hit home,”said Zoe Jovanovich, the moderator of the staged reading.

Jovanovich, a creative writing and theatre double major, said she was thrilled to be a part of the process to support the play.

“It felt very natural and real, how a conversation would go between two people who loved each other and didn’t want to walk away, but didn’t want to agree,” said Kendall Uyeji , a senior and theatre major who attended the staged reading.

Parker plans to continue writing as a playwright. He would like to see “Smooth, Smooth Jazz” performed at Western or in the community sometime soon.


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