LAS VEGAS -- The College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas announced this week that Robert Berky's play "The Redness of the Woodpecker" is winner of the Sarett National Playwriting Competition. The play will be produced in February and March by the Department of Theatre as part of its 2000-2001 season.

Auditions to perform in the play will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001, in the Black Box Theatre on campus. Callbacks will be Sunday, Jan. 21. Davey Marlin-Jones is the director. The play takes place in the southwest where a young man is kicked off a bus in the middle of nowhere and is accosted by an old man who claims to be the Greek poet Homer. With no alternative, the young man accompanies the old man to a town constructed in the remains of a '54 Chevy pickup (the Woodpecker) inhabited by a strange collection of characters and a few harbingers.

Winning playwright Robert Berky, artistic director of the Performing Arts Company of Jackson Hole, WO, is an award-winning theatrical clown, actor, director and playwright.

"The play is about becoming aware, about landscapes that affect us, and things we can't put a handle on," said Berky.

The Morton R. Sarett National Playwriting Competition, which is held biennially, was established at UNLV by Gwynneth and Robert C. Weiss as a memorial to Morton R. Sarett, playwright and author, for his love of theater and his spirit of innovation and creativity. A winning author receives a cash award and his or her play is produced by the Department of Theatre at UNLV. Submitted manuscripts go through several readings by initial and secondary review panels before submitted to a national panel of judges for final reading and selection. This arduous task takes several months before final cuts are made, the winner selected.

Those wishing to audition will need to sign up at the Department of Theatre office located in the west end of the Carlson Education Building and prepare a one-minute contemporary American monologue.

Rehearsals for "The Redness of the Woodpecker" will be in the evenings and Saturdays beginning Jan. 22. Performances of "The Redness of the Woodpecker" are at 8 p.m. Feb. 23, 24, March 1, 2, and 3 with matinees at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 and March 4. Tickets, $6, are on sale at the Performing Arts Center Box Office on campus. For information on auditions, please contact the Department of Theatre at 895-3666.