Robert Koon-Third Place 2013

Robert Koon headshot

Robert Koon is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where his plays Homecoming 1972 and St. Colm's Inch were produced. His other plays include Vintage Red and the Dust of the Road (Joseph Jefferson Award Citation for New Work, ACTA Steinberg Award nominee), Odin's Horse (Joseph Jefferson Award nominee, Ecodrama Playwrights Festival winner, NNPN Smith Prize finalist), and Menorca, and have been produced across the United States. He has also been a finalist for the Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville. Robert has been awarded creative residencies at the Ragdale Foundation and the William Inge Center for the Arts. He has taught playwriting at The Theatre School at DePaul University and Independence Community College, and he currently teaches at Aurora University and in the Playwrights Studio at Chicago Dramatists. His recent acting work includes appearances in At His Best for Cold Basement Dramatics, 8 for 16th Dramatists, and Heddatron for Sideshow Theatre. Robert is also an Associate Artist at 16th Theatre. Robert holds an MFA from the University of California at Davis, and he is a member of the Dramatists Guild.


From WEST WIND, by Robert Koon


I know what I know!

I may not know everything, but I know what I know, OK? They caught her. My mom. She said that she wasn't going to get married again until the house was finished. She had all these projects, and they were taking a long time, and she'd say it was the workers, that they were taking longer than she thought they would. But really, she would go along at night and she'd take stuff apart, or break something, or whatever, so they'd have to redo everything. She said remodeling always takes a lot longer than you think it will, and the house was all torn up and ugly, and she thought that if she kept it up long enough they'd think it wasn't worth it. Plus, there would always be parts of the house they couldn't go into, so there would always be a place to get away from them. But they caught her. One of the workers, they paid him to tell them what she was doing, and now they're bringing in all their own workers and they're finishing everything, and now she's going to have to choose. My mom's going to have to choose, then the winner, he gets to give me...I mean, who's going to stop him? Like I said, I've heard them talking. "Fifteen is old enough." That's what they say. Up there. When my mom can't hear them. She won't let them talk to me, but when she's not around, I hear what they say. And they laugh.

If my dad were still here none of this would be happening. If there hadn't been a war.

It's not fair.

Judge's comments

Ominously the doors to a bar open and the West Wind blows in a stranger, imposing and brooding. Back from some nameless war; this man has come for some answers. With wonderfully sparse dialogue, this modern re-telling of the Odyssey shows that you don't need a lot of words to tell a good story just the right words. You don't need a lot of characters-just well-written ones. As the play ends we know this is just a respite, the calm before the storm. Because it is a retelling of the Odyssey we roughly know how its all going to turn out. A lot of bad guys are going to die.