Gordon Porterfield's Snow, an intimate play about the courtship of a writer and a librarian, copped top honors when the Baltimore Playwrights Festival doled out its awards in a ceremony at F. Scott Black's Dinner Theater in Towson on Sept. 13. The awards also served to honor the Fells Point Corner Theatre (FPCT), which mounted all three winners in the Best Production category. The prizes honored the best from among this year's 12 scripts and 11 full productions in the 18-year-old festival.
Porterfield's work won first prize in the Best Play category, and its direction by Lance Lewman at FPCT won first prize for Best Production. Porterfield's win came with his first festival entry; he has written for local stages since the late '60s, when he was a resident playwright for the Corner Theatre company (a troupe that later merged with the Fells Point Theatre to form FPCT), and he had plays produced in New York, London, and Edinburgh in the 1970s and early '80s. The playwright, a 60-year-old teacher at Canton Middle School, says he pulled away from theater work in recent years, but had "a strong urge to see a play produced" about two years ago, and brought Snow to director Lewman's attention. He praises the director and the play's actors and calls Snow's debut "the most beautiful experience I've ever had in the theater." City Paper critic Anna Ditkoff called Snow "a perfect date play" and praised the performances of Courtney Bell and Ben Thomas in the two-character drama as "valiant" (Theater, 7/14).
Second-place honors in the Best Play category went to Kathleen Barber's industrial drama Caz--its Barry Feinstein-directed interpretation at FPCT also placed second for Best Production. Carol Weinberg's drama about black-Jewish relations, Keeping the Faith, produced at the Spotlighters, won third-place honors in the Best Play category, while Mimi Teahan's drama Urban Breakdowns, directed by Ryan Whinnem at FPCT, won third place for Best Production.