2017 Playwriting Competition – Winners Announced

The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics and the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics are pleased to announce the winners of the Fifth Annual Science Playwriting Competition

Stony Brook University is at the forefront in finding new and interesting channels for the dissemination of scientific knowledge. By bringing science and theatre together, this competition has aimed to find new ways of teaching, learning, and thinking. Science plays are an excellent tool for explaining difficult concepts to the general public, and these same concepts may provide out-of-the-box inspiration to writers. This competition provides an outlet for scientists and playwrights to go beyond the bounds of their normal ways of thinking, spark their imagination, and synthesize a new experience for all.Playwrights from all over the U.S. have submitted 10-minute plays with strong components of science and theatricality. Selecting winners in this year’s competition was especially difficult due both to the large number of submissions and to the high quality of most of the entries.The First Prize of $500 goes to Richard Lyons Conlon for his play The Volitive Effect.

Second Prize of $200 goes to Arthur Lundquist for his play The Age of Giants

Third Prize of $100 goes to Alan Coyne for his play Ducks and Drakes


THE VOLITIVE EFFECT by Richard Lyons Conlon

This unconventional but timely play conveys some the deep and troubling issues about artificial intelligence.

A two-term Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Conlon has written over thirty plays and screenplays.
Currently, “7 Minutes to Live” is a Semi-Finalist in MultiStages 2017 New Works Contest in New York City, and is also scheduled for a 2018 production at Open Door Theatre in Sheffield, England. His 10-minute political-thriller, “Big Game: A Mother-Daughter Hunting Story” was produced this October in Chicago as part of Scared S#!tless: Artists React to These Trumpled Times. And “Descanso” won the 2017 WordWave New Play Competition in Lake Tahoe, California.  “Intellectual Property” was named a Finalist for the 2017 HRC Showcase Theatre New Play Contest in New York, while “No Time at All” was a Finalist for the 2016 Reva Shiner Comedy Award. “The Most Hidden Thing” was a Top 2% Finalist in the 2016 Hope and Optimism Play Competition at Cornell University and Notre Dame.

The comedy-drama “One Time” enjoyed a record-setting world premiere at Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee. It’s been workshopped at Urban Stages in New York, and in Chicago at the Raven Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. It also took the Gold Prize in the 2015 Beverly Hills Stage Play Competition.


THE AGE OF GIANTS by Arthur Joseph Lundquist

As a science-obsessed child, Lundquist grew up looking at salt crystals in microscopes and experimenting with surface tension using wet rags and buckets of water.  As time passed he found himself drawn to the intoxicating dreams of Cyrano de Bergerac, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jules Verne.  So it is perhaps not surprising that he grew up to be an actor, though he has played scientists at the movies, once mutating into a monster in THE REGENERATED MAN and once being abducted by aliens in THE ALIEN AGENDA III:  BENEATH THE SKIN.  Still, behind it all has whispered a life-time wish for a meeting of seekers and dreamers that finds voice in “The Age of Giants.”

Lundquist is currently writing a book about movies and television over the years that express fear of an approaching end of the world, titled “It’s Doomsday! At the Movies!!!”



Coyne identifies primarily as an actor, having performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, Lafayette Town Hall Theatre, Indra’s Net, and the SF Shakespeare Festival. His one-act play “Yesterday’s News” was the runner-up in Pan Theater’s 2012 Home-Grown Play Festival, and “Hypnos (William Shakespeare’s Cardenio)” and “Bastet (The Interrogations of Mata Hari)” were featured at SF Olympians Play Festivals VII and VIII. Excerpts from his cosmological musical “The Theory of Everything” were performed as part of Musical Cafe’s Spring Showcase in June of 2016.

“Ducks and Drakes” is the second in a continuing series of adventures involving the characters Keane and Doyle: this August, “Keane and Doyle are Spies” was a finalist in PianoFight’s ShortLived play competition, and next October, they will appear again in “Trivia” at SF Olympians IX.