What is the purpose of art? Is it to elevate our lives or shatter our assumptions? That’s the question facing the leading citizens of a sleepy New England resort when an anonymous nude takes first prize in their community’s art competition. As local gossips speculate about exactly whose bare butt is depicted in that painting, the competition’s wealthy sponsor, Mrs. Bouffant, is horrified and lobbies the judges for a more “appropriate” winner– something involving daisies or an old barn.” Horror turns to outrage, however, when she learns the winning artist is the mailman who keeps losing her deliveries. As she doubles down on her campaign for public decency, an influential New York art critic arrives on the scene, determined to shake up the big city art scene by championing this formerly unknown artist of the “working classes.”
- Developed at Barter Theater’s Festival of New Appalachian Plays and Playwrights
- Winner Southeastern Theatre Conference Charles Getchell New Play Award
- Finalist, B Street Theatre New Comedies Festival
- Finalist, Market Street Theater’s New Play Competition
- Finalist, Theater on the Lake New Play Competition
MRS. BOUFFANT: These, I suppose, are the results of the judging?MRS. TWINKLE: The three winning entries. The losing entries are in my car.
MRS. BOUFFANT: No, no, no, Mrs. Twinkle! We must not refer to them as the losing entries—they are simply the work of—of–
MRS. TWINKLE: Lesser artists?
MRS. BOUFFANT: Er, no. There is only one first prize, to be sure, but that does not mean second prize is second best.
MRS. TWINKLE: What does it mean, then?
MRS. BOUFFANT: We don’t want to discourage our artists, Mrs. Twinkle. If we imply that the losers are … well, losers … They might be offended and not submit again.
MRS. TWINKLE: We don’t want that!
MRS. BOUFFANT: No, indeed. As you know, the entry fee supports the prize…
The Time: The early 1950s.
The Place: A small seafront town in New England
Run Time: 90 minutes with no intermission