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Carstens nabs national playwright award

After a 30-year hiatus since staging a pair of one-act plays in college, Pacific University College of Arts & Sciences dean Lisa Carstens has been selected as one of seven winners in a national playwright compeition.

The contest, titled “The Seven,” was put on by Fusion, a professional regional theatre company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In its 11th year, and one of the pre-eminent short works festivals in the nation, “The Seven” this year received submissions from 40 states and eight countries. Carstens’ script, “Future Perfect,” will be staged June 9 through 11 at The Cell Theatre — which was founded and is operated by Fusion — and June 12 at The KiMo in downtown Albuquerque. The performance run is sold out.

The playwriting competition stages seven world premiere short works annually. Each year, theme suggestions are solicited from and voted upon by theatre patrons and playwrights worldwide. This year’s theme is “Strange Bedfellows.”

Fusion’s mission is to incite, celebrate and inspire community through the art of storytelling. Named one of the 10 most promising emerging theatre companies in the country by the American Theatre Wing, Fusion is headquartered in the heart of the downtown Albuquerque Arts & Cultural District and performs statewide. The company is the longest running professional theatre organization in New Mexico’s history.

Carstens said she was thrilled to have her short play included in Fusion’s 2016 festival. “Future Perfect” was also previously a finalist in the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville’s 2015 National Ten Minute Play Contest. A longtime writer of plays and short fiction, Carstens has a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Irvine. She’s also an English professor and literary critic who has taught literature, critical theory, writing and gender studies for more than 20 years — at Pacific and previously at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia, and the University of California, Irvine.