Dallas Theater Wins

Robot-happy play that Dallas audiences saw first nabs international theater prize

Robot-happy play that Dallas audiences saw first nabs theater prize

Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre
Gregory Lush, Montgomery Sutton and Vanessa DeSilvio in Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre. Photo by Christi Nielsen

Dallas' theater crowd got to be first for a change, with the world premiere of Tomorrow Come Today, a trippy sci-fi play written by Gordon Dahlquist, which Undermain Theatre in Deep Ellum cannily presented in September 2014.

Now the play has received a prestigious international award: the James Tait Black prize for outstanding new drama.

The BBC reports that Dahlquist was awarded the £10,000 prize — part of the oldest literary awards in Britain — at a ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland. Presented and judged by students and staff at the University of Edinburgh in association with Playwrights' Studio, Scotland, and the Traverse Theatre, the prize has been in existence since 2012, when drama was added as a category to the 1919-founded awards.

Undermain's artistic director Katherine Owens helmed the world premiere of Tomorrow Come Today, a cautionary story set in the near future where wealthy citizens can cheat death by swapping bodies. Three actors shared the main role of Poul — Montgomery Sutton, Gregory Lush and Vanessa DeSilvio — and the production also received positive notices for its innovative set, costume, lighting and sound design.

The play stood out for a number of reasons, including the presence of robots and a unique action-movie tone, with shoot-outs, invasions and implied explosions.

"All three shortlisted plays display striking and original talent and each has made a lasting impact in theatre — making it a very challenging job to select a winner," said chair of the judging panel, Greg Walker. "The engaging innovation of Gordon Dahlquist's ominous science fiction drama stood out in the end, and we are delighted to celebrate his work at this evening's event."