Best Production of a Play - 2000
In many American political plays, a guy (it's usually a guy) comes on stage and talks. The set, the costumes, the lighting -- they're all window-dressing, which helps to explain the sorry state of political drama. Doug Wright's 1995 work Quills, however, dissects the issues of censorship through the trials of the Marquis de Sade. It's a play of ideas, driving home the notion that you can't get rid of art you don't like merely by destroying its author. But it's also a play of images. In the exquisitely designed Florida Stage production, Jim Fulton's lighting design reproduced the Marquis' naughty writing as luminescent streaks across the theater walls. Allen D. Cornell's inventive turntable set gave rise to multiple arresting scenes -- not the least of which was the yanking out of the Marquis' tongue. Suzette Pare's costumes smartly outfitted the small-minded denizens of 19th-century France as well as the increasingly-more-disrobed Marquis. And Scott Burgess' sound design created an asylumwide orgy we could "see" though it happened off stage. At the helm was artistic director Louis Tyrrell, whose fluid hand and wicked sense of humor proved to be assets the Marquis would have loved.