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Short Play Festival Selects UH Theatre Alumna’s New Work

A missionary explores grief and faith in Caitlin Turnage’s (BFA Playwriting ’16) “The Holes in Human Flesh.”

University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance alumna Caitlin Turnage (BFA Playwriting ’16) is one of the 30 emerging playwrights selected for this year’s Off Off Broadway (OOB) Short Play Festival in New York. She earned the coveted spot with her new work “The Holes in Human Flesh,” a visceral exploration of a Christian missionary’s feelings of grief and loss of faith on the final day of a mission trip.

Turnage, who attended a small private Christian school before college, was inspired by fellow students who traveled around the world on week-long mission trips. “I was vastly fascinated by the kinds of people who go on these trips and the people they meet,” she said in an interview with OOB. “How do these two young people shape and mold each other, especially when they’re at two such different places in their lives? I wanted to explore that and the guilt, separation and abandonment surrounding this brief and seismic encounter.” 

This isn’t the first time Turnage has turned heads with her emotionally incisive work. As a student at UH, her play “it’s a fine day for a picnic” was featured in the first UH Ten Minute Play Festival. Later, she was named a National Finalist for the Gary Garrison National Ten Minute Play Contest for “Jigsaw Cactus” and won the National John Cauble Short Play award for the one-act play “In a Darkroom, The Lord Knows.” She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Texas State University and working on an adaptation of the myth of fertility deity Kokopelli, called “Stone Pebble Girls.”

Read the full interview with OOB on their website and learn more about Turnage’s work online.