Barker play is prize finalist

Kin, by Northwestern College theatre professor Jeff Barker, has been honored as a finalist in the national Arlin G. Meyer Prize competition.

The grand prize winner of the 2002 New Voices Iowa Playwrights Competition, Kin is the story of Carrie Buck, whose 1920s Supreme Court case legalized involuntary sterilization for persons deemed “socially inadequate.”

“Her case was a giant step forward for eugenics, a worldwide ‘race hygiene’ movement that led into the Holocaust,” says Barker, noting that Virginia’s sterilization law was not repealed until 1981, after over 8,300 involuntary sterilizations had been done.

Competition jurors praised Kin as “a prophetic fictionalization of a too often forgotten episode in history” and said the play “explores in a compelling way the claims of individual rights, professional responsibility and the position of each within a community during a time when the terms ‘scientific advancement’ and ‘progress’ seemed to go unquestioned.”

Kin was produced by Northwestern College theatre in 2003.

The Arlin G. Meyer Prize is given by the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts. The Lilly Fellows program seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning for the 21st century.

Among the 19 submissions, eight were chosen as finalists. Against Consolation by Robert Cording from College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass., received this year’s prize at the Lilly Fellows National Conference.