Based on historical events, “Celia” centers on a female slave who killed her master in 1855 after years of abuse.
This year’s Yale Prize judge Nicholas Wright commented, “My reason for rating the play so highly was the thick lump of pain that it placed in my chest and that I carried around with me for days afterwards. I had a completely primitive and intuitive reaction to the tragedy of the story and to the whole of life, in a way.”
“I love theatre that is galvanizing, that’s invigorating, that makes me feel like I want to throw up, that gives me nightmares,” said Seyda. “I like theatre that’s confrontational, and I hope this play will be challenging and confrontational.”
The 57-year-old first-time playwright is the author of “Women in Love: Portraits of Lesbian Mothers & Their Families” and a freelance editor and photographer based in Tucson, Arizona. She is also proof positive that Meryl Streep is really on to something with her new initiative for women writers over 40.
Chosen among full-length, unpublished plays in English, the Yale prize comes with a $10,000 cash prize, publication by the Yale University Press, and a reading at Lincoln Center’s Clair Tow Theater.