Timothy J. Bellow Sr. (US Air Force) 2022 Bridge Award Winner
I am extremely honored and grateful to be 2022’s recipient of the Bridge Award for Playwriting. This is my first completed play and first time submitting. For years I’ve shied away from entering into any contest believing that MAN ON THE GROUND is ‘too far out there’. I was wrong! Although the feeling I get for winning is amazing, it pales in comparison to the feelings that come with knowing ‘people really get this play’. I truly believe we are all moving towards something better, something higher, something beyond anything any human has ever experienced on planet earth - and we can feel it. I believe this play speaks to our spirit and our spirits know that this is real and the best is yet to come.
Thanks to the AITAF community for uplifting my little play. I am looking forward to all the good things coming my way because of this honor.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
-Timothy J. Bellow Sr.
Timothy J. Bellow Sr. Bio:
Timothy J. Bellow Sr. (Tim) is an Air Force Veteran who served as a signals analyst from 1984 to 1992. While working towards his degree at the Community College of the Air Force, he developed an interest in creative writing. That interest became a passion upon leaving the Air Force and he continued taking classes and reading every book he could find on the subject. At some point his love for creative writing mixed with his obsession for spiritual evolution and MAN ON THE GROUND was created. Tim lives near New Orleans where he still writes and dabbles in acting, stage and screen, every now and then. Being a Capricorn, he only writes hard drama. He dislikes musicals and comedies. “There is no time for laughing and singing and dancing! Life is too short and too serious”. MAN ON THE GROUND is his first completed and first submitted play.
"MAN ON THE GROUND is a mesmerizing two act play that takes place in rural America within an African American farming community struggling to survive. With taut precision, Timothy J. Bellow Sr. shows us a family ruled with an iron hand by the Patriarch, Joseph, who has dominion over his son, Junior, in his 30’s, and his daughter Sapphira, in her late 20’s, whom Joseph still calls “baby girl.”
The writer has an elemental force in forging his characters that makes the reader rapt. The Matriarch, Berniece, struggles to breath all the while holding onto her cigarettes. Her family, holds fast to an old world “old energy,” not questioning the hierarchy within the house. Enter a traveling salesman, Alcyde, who may or may not be a messenger of a new energy of “multiple dimensions.” He has created a spin machine that he asserts will heal, change, and renew human beings as we know them. He has only to convince the local population at the state fair, and win over Joseph’s family. What will come first, a transformation of mindsets and human possibilities or the end of times?
Crackling language, the intrusion of a stranger, and the playwright’s ability to flip our belief into suspicion and back again in terms of whether the salesman is a charlatan or a divine footsoldier makes this play a page turner."
- Paula Vogel
Final Selecting Judge Paula Vogel
Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays include INDECENT (Tony Award for Best Play), HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Broadway production set for spring 2020; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, OBIE Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play), THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, THE MINEOLA TWINS, THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, HOT’N’THROBBING, DESDEMONA, AND BABY MAKES SEVEN, THE OLDEST PROFESSION and A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS.
Her plays have been produced by Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, the Vineyard Theatre, Roundabout, and Circle Repertory Company, Center Stage, Intiman, Trinity Repertory, Woolly Mammoth, Huntington Theatre, Magic Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Dallas Theatre Berkeley Repertory, and Alley Theatres to name a few. Harrogate Theatre and the Donmar Theatre have produced her work in England.
Internationally, her plays have been produced in in English in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and in translation in Italy, Germany, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland Slovenia, Canada, Portugal, France, Greece, Japanese, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and many other countries.
MAN ON THE GROUND by Timothy J. Bellow Sr.
Rural Mississippi–1960s: A mysterious traveling salesman arrives in a small town, bringing a new invention that, he says, can heal the sick and align chakras, helping humanity to move into their next spiritual state. Is he a fraud or a prophet? A healer? A savior? A messenger? All of the above and more? MAN ON THE GROUND is a genre-exploding adventure of enlightenment and confusion, a wild ride through cosmic explorations of religion, philosophy, multi-dimensionality, and family. Is Utopia just an idea, or is it a coming reality? And if the voice of the future spoke to us, would we know how to hear it?
LAWN ORNAMENTS by Sylvia Bowersox (US Army)
A Veterans Affairs Hospital – Now and Eternally: Harold, a homeless veteran who is haunted by horrors he experienced overseas, is our tour guide through the horrors he's now mired in at home. A surreal "game show" with many players but no winners in sight, the play captures the lunacy of a VA system that claims to care about healing broken people – but ultimately serves them up as lawn ornaments, gaudy objects of awe and pity. Using spectacle, song, and savagely funny surrealism, this play draws from theatrical traditions from the Greeks to Thornton Wilder to create a lyrical and aching portrait of cyclical trauma, and to shine a piercing light on the veterans our society wants to forget.
SALSA NIGHT by Francisco Martinezcuello (US Marine Corps)
Iraq, 2004: A Dominican-American infantryman on leave and a Haitian-American sergeant who works for Mortuary Affairs meet on base, by chance. Despite obvious differences and initial distrust, the two Marines find a moment of connection, commonality, and even joy, amidst loneliness and loss. With immersive design and universal themes, SALSA NIGHT is an experimentally composed, closely observed, and bracingly human look at isolation and alienation – feelings that, in a pandemic-rattled world, echo for military and civilians alike.
THE BLACK BULLET DICHOTOMY by David Stamps (US Air Force)
America, Today: An aspiring poet fires a gun, thinking it's unloaded – and a beloved shopkeeper is shot dead. That fateful gunshot sends the poet on the run, and on an epic journey to understand his place in THE BLACK BULLET DICHOTOMY: the noxious frame that guns have placed around Blackness in America since Black people arrived on American soil. Through jubilant rhyme, free verse, and music, this play moves seamlessly back and forth between the individual and the archetypal, offering a full range of humor, pathos, ritual--and ultimately, transcendence.
NIKKI by Christin St. John (US Marine Corps)
New York City – Today: Nikki, an insecure, aspiring actress with big dreams, is stuck in a demeaning diner job. Broke, and with mounting debts, she's about to get kicked out of her apartment when a friend offers her a lucrative money-making opportunity – but she wrestles with what it might cost her. In this frank and deeply felt dark comedy, bouncing between daydream and reality, we find a compassionate view of a young woman confronted with impossible questions: how do you find your worth in a world dominated by dollar signs? How do you get ahead when you can't even catch up? Is anything or anyone ever really free?
THERE IS NO EDEN by James Henry (US Army)
TWILIGHT IN THE PARK by Paul Kodiak (US Coast Guard)
WAITING IN AMERICA by Phillip Korth (US Marine Corps)
THE ISOLATION OF MISS TEYONAH JONES by Frank Oteri (US Army)
LOST NEAR DAYTONA, FOUND by Jason Pizzarello (US Army)
THE FEMINIST by Cydnee A. Reese (US Air Force)
POST TRAUMATIC by F. J. Roebuck (US Army)
RISING STORM by Rich Rubin (US Army)
WILDFIRE by Dakota Silvey (US Air Force)
BAGHDAD by David Tucker (US Army)
The Bridge Award Team
Bridge Awards Chair
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