San Francisco Foundation Awards $5,000 to Playwright Basil Kreimendahl

The San Francisco Foundation named Bay Area playwright Basil Kreimendahl the winner of its 2013 Rella Lossy Playwright Award, which is given annually to support the production of a new play by an emerging local writer. (See San Francisco Foundation: Bay Area Grants.)

The nomination process for the Rella Lossy Award is somewhat different from that for other types of arts awards; local nonprofit theaters submit a script from their upcoming season rather than the name of the playwright. In this case, Kreimendahl's script, summarized as an "absurdist-Western romp through gender queerness," was submitted by the Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco.

Nominations are reviewed and selected by an appointed juror. This year's juror was Michael Ritchie, the artistic director of the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles. He reviewed all scripts without knowing their author or the nominating theater. Half of the $5,000 award is given to the playwright, while the other half helps pay for production costs.

This is the second year that the San Francisco Foundation, which has given out more than $800 million in the past decade, has issued the Rella Lossy Playwright Award. Dr. Frank Lossy created the award in honor of his late wife, Rella, a committed advocate of Bay Area arts and American theater and an actress and published poet.

If the success of last year's winner, Christopher Chen, is any indication, Kreimendahl has a bright future. Chen received widespread acclaim for his "The Hundred Flowers Project" from Bay Area critics and was nominated for four San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards.