Our Owain wins third Golden Inkwell trophy
Royal Gazette reporter Owain Johnston-Barnes beat out some tough competition in the annual Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society (BMDS) Famous for Fifteen Minute playwriting competition to be named as this year’s winner.
Mr Johnston-Barnes is no stranger to the winner’s circle, as this is his third time carting home the rather weighty Golden Inkwell trophy home.
He won in 2010 and in 2008. This year, he won for his play ‘A Thousand Words’ about two young women trying to retrieve a deceased aunt’s photo collection from a grouchy old man who bought the photos in a yard sale.
“I am still completely surprised and thrilled,” said Mr Johnston-Barnes. “The competition this year was absolutely top notch.
“I honestly don’t think there was a single weak link in the bunch, so for the show to be named the winner is just the highest praise. That said, I still want to take scissors to the thing every time I look at it, or at least a good red pen.
“There is always that feeling that there is a better line or word somewhere. I forget who, but there was a poet who wrote that all he did before lunch was add a comma, and all he did after lunch was delete it.”
Six finalists in the competition performed their plays at the Daylesford Theatre in the last week. The winning script was chosen by American playwright and actor Tom Coash and announced on Sunday.
“It was a really tough decision this year, but I thought a lot of things stood out about this play,” said Mr Coash. “I always look for writing that looks for something to say and comes from the heart. I felt it had strong emotional content. It was very well written. The characters were believable. It was a unique situation and I was interested in what was going to happen next.
“During the course of the play the characters learned something and developed. I thought across the board the productions were solid and the acting was great. I was really pleased and excited to see these plays performed.”
Mr Coash said Mr Johnston-Barnes and all of the finalists would have a good chance of getting their plays performed overseas, if they were so inclined.
“All the plays had definite potential,” he said. “They all had things, now that they have seen them and learned how things work on the stage, that could be improved.
“You really learn a lot when you first see your play on stage. My hope is they will do some rewriting and submit them to other places. I think they would stand a good chance.”
Other finalists included Mark Lavery, Adam Gauntlett, Deborah Pharoah-Williams, Kevin Comeau and George Morton.