Saint Mary's alumna Angela Santillo ‘05 received wonderful news last week. Her play "Sera" was selected by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's National Playwriting Program as a Region VII finalist for the David Mark Cohen Award. The award honors outstanding new plays developed in a significant collaboration with a college or university.

A satirical play about the Roman city of Pompeii on the eve of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, "Sera" was produced by the College's Performing Arts Department in the spring.

SMC theatre program professor Rebecca Engle, who began working with Santillo more than a year ago to develop the play, and also directed the world premier at Saint Mary's, said the selection was a validation of the hard work that Santillo and many others put into it.

"It was extremely gratifying to hear the news," Engle said. "We submitted the play for consideration and are very happy to the see this project move forward in the contest." Santillo's play will compete for the national award in April 2011 in Washington, D.C.

"It is very flattering and really, really cool," said Santillo after hearing that the Region VII National Playwrighting Program had advanced her script in the competition. "As a writer, most of the time you are in a room by yourself with a computer, and to be honored for your work, it encourages me to continue to do what I'm doing, and that's writing plays."

Santillo recently received more good news. Saint Mary's has been invited to present a staged reading of "Sera" next February at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre's Region VII Festival in Humboldt, Calif.

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