The Lemon


LOS ANGELES—The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) announced the winner of the $10,000 Saroyan/Paul Human Rights Playwriting Prize on April 24 th, 2017 at the The Antaeus Theatre Company at the newly opened Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Centre in Glendale. The winner was June Carryl, for her play, The Good Minister From Harare, a play about the little talked about genocide in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. More than 300 entries from around the world illustrated stories about the human condition and were scored by over 120 theatre professionals worldwide.
ADAA is proud to administer the only Human Rights playwriting award in the world since 2014, highlighting global stories of human rights and social justice. Renowned judges this year included Rob Drummer, Associate Dramaturg and Director from the Bush Theatre in London; Neil McPherson, Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre in London since 1999; and Simon Levy, Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles since 1993.
The winner of this year's award, June Carryl, is a playwright and actor with a background in Political Science and English Literature. Her other plays include Stone Angels and God's Wife. June received her $10,000 Saroyan/Paul Prize and crystal trophy at ADAA's April 24 performance event, from two luminaries: Emmy-winning Director Hank Saroyan, nephew of author William Saroyan; and Karen Kondazian, award-winning actress and ADAA founding board member.
The two finalists for the 2016 Saroyan/Paul Human Rights Playwriting Prize were: Runaway Home, by Jeremy J. Kamps, about fourteen year-old Kali and her mother Eunice returning to the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina to find that “home” is no longer there; and The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker, where in 1976 Buenos Aires, two mothers search covertly for Belen, nine months pregnant and one of the many disappeared people in Argentina's so-called “Dirty War.”
Both of these finalists have recently received commitments for full Los Angeles productions: Runaway Home at the Fountain Theatre, and The Madres at the Skylight Theatre.
April 24 saw unforgettable readings of excerpts of all three plays with the Antaeus Theatre Company. These pieces were directed by Michael Peretzian, Emily Chase and John Sloan and produced by Bianca Bagatourian.
The cast included some of the finest actors in Los Angeles:
The Good Minister From Harare - Brittney Wheeler, Matt Orduna, Terry Woodberry, Inger Tudor, Basil Wallace, and William Mitchell.
The Madres - Arianna Ortiz and Denise Blasor.
Runaway Home - Sola Bamis, Ukamaka Izuchi, Daniel Watts and Yvonne Lee.
The performances were followed by the announcement of the winner and a VIP reception at the theatre. Music was provided by Ryan Henry and Photography by John Charles.
The Saroyan/Paul Human Rights Playwriting Prize is made possible by annual support from the William Saroyan Foundation, which inaugurated the award at ADAA in 2008, and the Lillian and Varnum Paul Fund at the Armenian Church Western Diocese, which has supported ADAA's writing prizes since its inception ten years ago.
The Antaeus Theatre Lobby Gallery featured original paintings by William Saroyan, presented by ADAA and the William Saroyan Foundation. The stunning watercolor paintings are available for sale to support ADAA.
Event sponsors and in-kind donors for both nights' events included Phoenicia Restaurant, Falafel Arax, Starbucks,, and Jons Marketplace.
For more information on the awards, the additional runners-up and honorable
mentions for each competition, and more about The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, please visit