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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 28, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 32
Play by Writing Sems Major Takes Top Honor at Kennedy Center

By Amy Lunday

Eric Kalman Levitz, a sophomore in the Writing Seminars, earned first place in the 10-minute play category of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for his play Without Parachutes. Levitz was awarded $1,000 and a fellowship to attend an intensive two-week playwriting program this summer at the Kennedy Center.

Levitz's work was honored as part of the festival's Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program.

Without Parachutes tells the story of Charlie and Carrie, a couple who are falling out of love, and also out of the sky on a doomed airplane. As the plane makes its emergency descent, they try to distract themselves from the growing terror by pretending they are still at Carrie's apartment, on the afternoon they fell in love.

Levitz made it to the national festival after his play won top honors in its category during a regional competition held in January at Carnegie Mellon University. At each of the eight regional festivals, judges selected four to six of the best and most diverse productions to be showcased at the national festival, all expenses paid. Without Parachutes was presented as a staged reading on April 18 with a cast of student actors who also had been named finalists at regional festivals. Since its establishment in 1969, the program has reached more than 16 million theatergoers and 400,000 college and university theater students nationwide.

Levitz is also pursuing a minor in the Theatre Arts and Studies Program, and his play was part of the program's New Play Festival this year. It will be presented again this summer at the Source Festival in Washington, D.C.


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