On the evening of Saturday, June 18, the award-winning play The Launch Prize, by MJ Halberstadt, was read by four extremely talented actors, to a very appreciative audience of about sixty community members. The Winchester Multicultural Network brought the play to town for the second time, because of the fascinating and entertaining way it illustrates the challenges people face dealing with racism and sexism in close personal relationships, and highlights the importance of staying connected and striving toward authentic interactions.
The characters are a group of artists. One of the many ways to further describe them is that they are an Asian woman, a Latino man, a black woman, and a white man. They struggle with issues commonly facing people in cross-racial interactions: dealing with uncertainty about what people find offensive; understanding people’s choices about self-presentation; sorting out the impact of race and gender when judgments are made about awards and grants; and processing how friends confront diversity issues when in a highly competitive situation.
During the discussion with the playwright following the staged reading, the complexity of having a white man writing for characters of various races was explored. The process of script development was quite collaborative; the playwright learned more about his own characters and what they might say, from the actors he asked to portray them. The audience also learned about how the playwright’s work experience in college admissions informed the script.
The Network is very grateful to the Griffin Museum for their collaboration, providing a beautiful and fitting venue for a play about a multiracial group of artists. We would also like to thank the Cummings Foundation and our individual community supporters, for providing the funding that allows us to offer programs like this, since increased awareness is an essential step toward creating a fully inclusive community.
read the playbill