Neukom Institute Announces 2022 Playwright Award Winner

Matthew Libby

Matthew Libby’s Sisters has won the 2022 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting.

“Matthew Libby’s Sisters is a terrific piece of dramatic work that makes us think about the emotional dimensions of the intersection of lives and the digital,” said Dan Rockmore, director of Dartmouth’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College and a professor of math and computer science.

Libby is an actor and playwright based in Brooklyn, New York, and is a 2022-2023 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow.

Six additional plays were selected as finalists: The Many Wondrous Realities of Jasmine Starr-Kidd by Stephen BrownomniHappy by Alex DremannThe Bergerac Simulation by Mora V. HarrisSingularity by Minh-Anh DayOf Solitude by Amanda Keating, and Underdrown by Derek Lee McPhatter.

Sisters chronicles the life of Matilda and her AI sister Greta. The story explores what lies at the core of family dynamics, artificial intelligence, the finiteness of existence, and, ultimately, humanity. Libby’s seemingly modest portrayal of this extraordinary pair of sisters through fragments of their dialogues creates tender, ambivalent, yet explosive chemistry, challenging the audience to ponder every single exchange in the sisters’ lives.

Libby’s award includes a $5,000 cash prize and one week-long workshop at Northern Stage during the 2022-2023 season. This week-long workshop, directed by Northern Stage’s BOLD Resident Director Aileen Wen McGroddy, will culminate in two public readings of the play at Northern Stage and Dartmouth, respectively. The first public reading at Dartmouth College will take place at 7:30PM on Thursday, January 12th at the Hinman Forum, located in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. The second reading at Northern Stage will take place at 7:30PM on Friday, January 13th at the Byrne Theatre, located in the Barrette Center for the Arts, 74 Gates Street, White River Junction, VT.

Established in 2018, the annual Neukom playwriting award considers plays and other full-length works for the theater that address the question, “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” The award is a partnership between the Neukom Institute, the Department of Theater at Dartmouth College, and Northern Stage based in White River Junction, Vermont. This year’s winner comes from a shortlist of seven plays selected from 141 submissions.

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science is dedicated to supporting and inspiring computational work. The Literary Arts Awards is part of the Neukom Institute’s initiative to explore the ways in which computational ideas impact society.

[Based on a press release.]

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