Josh Hartwell- Second Place 2010

Josh Hartwell

Josh Hartwell is an actor and playwright in Denver, CO. As a writer, he is represented by Ron Gwiazda at Abrams Artists Agency in NY. Hartwell's first play, Reaching for Comfort (Marlowe Award and Best of Westword recipient), enjoyed successful runs at Theatre on Broadway in Denver, and at The Changing Scene Northwest in Bremerton, WA. Bull Baiter was staged in MT, MN, OH, and WA. Nothing but Skin won the RMTA Playwriting Competition in '06. Dylan Went Electric was part of Modern Muse Theatre Company's "The Play's the Thing" New Play Festival in '09. Contrived Ending (Ovation Award and Henry Award nominees; Marlowe Award winner), originally directed by Jim Hunt, earned a feature film and Off-Broadway contract with Starry Night Entertainment. Hartwell is an instructor for young playwrights with Curious New Voices, and writer for "Denver Stories" both at Curious Theatre Company. He also writes for Trunks; a bi-weekly, live-action comic book at Buntport Theater. Hartwell has been a guest artist at Highlands Ranch High School, New Vista High School, as well as for the "Writing for Stage and Screen" class at Wooster College in OH.

Inspiration for 'The Rank and the Blood Rush'

The Rank and the Blood Rush was a play I toyed with, on and off, for several years. I would pick it up and get acquainted with my characters, and then put the play down and work on something else--sort of letting the characters have a rest. And letting me have a rest from them. I often write dark and damaged people, but these guys needed quite a bit of care. The subject of a disturbed rodeo clown became increasingly fascinating to me. I also developed more interest in the rodeo itself, having visited the Rodeo Hall of Fame as part of my research. This play was a bit of a departure for me in that I often incorporate more of a subtle pop-culture element.

Judge's comments

Two brothers in the spirit of Sam Sheppard's True West reunite on the Rodeo circuit. The Rodeo Clown with the dark secret and the failed actor. The claustrophobic set of the small trailer allows these men no escape from each other. I don't know that the female character is neccessary, but this play pulls seemingly diverse and harmless threads together to make a tightly-knit and powerful conclusion with an unforgettable last image.