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UC Riverside Student Playwright Honored

UC Riverside Student Playwright Honored

MFA student Michael Carnick nominated for Kennedy Center award.

(February 9, 2011)

Michael Carnick

Michael Carnick

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A play by Michael Carnick, a student in UC Riverside’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts program, has been nominated for the National Partners American Theatre Award for Playwriting Excellence for his 10-minute play “Snapshot.”

Carnick’s play is one of six nominated from 102 entries at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VIII competition in Los Angeles, where it will be presented as a concert reading on Saturday, Feb. 12. Region VIII will forward two plays for consideration for the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. One winner and three finalists will be selected and performed as staged readings. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash award and an Active Dramatists Guild membership.

“Snapshot” is a short play about a struggling relationship in a cold, modern-day world, Carnick said. “Time and chronology freely weave into a flowing tapestry of romance lost. The camera is explored as a metaphor and the stage becomes a series of living photographs,” he said.

“It's a great honor to have my play presented at the festival,” Carnick said. “I really look forward to working with the cast and getting feedback on my work.”

Another of his plays, “Anchor,” is an alternate in the regional festival’s One-Acts Readings competition on Friday, Feb. 11. The one-act play – with one actor playing all of the roles – examines psychologist Leon Gold’s frayed elements of professional life, a cancer in remission and his failed marriage.
All performances will be at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles.

Carnick, a 28-year-old, second-year MFA student from San Diego, earned his bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego. The award-winning playwright and screenwriter said he is fascinated by the “organic growth” that a play undergoes from concept to execution.

“As a writer, I start with a single idea. Then the director will craft a model of that idea, and the actors will infuse it with their own nuances,” he said. “The set designer then turns that idea into a visual medium. At the end, the audience walks away with their own interpretation. It’s a really exciting thing to watch unfold.”

M.F.A. graduate Brian Oglesby twice won the regional award for playwriting and went to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for a staging of his plays “Nebraska Noon” and “Trainwhistles.”

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival was founded in 1969 to improve the quality of college theater in the United States.

UCR’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts is a unique two-year program that allows students to major and minor in two different genres selected from fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting (including writing for interactive and multi-media).

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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