Winner of TUPS Playwriting Competition Announced

Nathan Mihalski’s “Burger Islanders: Infinity Sauce” takes first


Allison Wolff

Pic of Playwright winner Nathan Mihalski taken by Allison Wolff and sent to me by Nathan.

“Burger Islanders: Infinity Sauce,” a fast-food surrealist play with tinges of medieval fantasy, will be performed on Saturday, March 26 in the Café Theater of Ruth Taylor Recital Hall. The play, written by junior theatre major and education minor Nathan Mihalski, was announced on Jan. 20 as the inaugural winner of the Trinity University Players (TUPS) playwriting competition that was hosted in the fall 2021 semester.

Senior biology major Taylor Condron, the production manager for TUPS, said that the student organization decided to host the playwriting competition in order to draw more participating members into the club, after noticing the disproportionate amount of upperclassmen to lowerclassmen involved in TUPS.

TUPS officers anonymously voted on the six submissions that they received for the competition. The officers voted on the conditions of the chosen playmaking sense, being able to be performed, not being too serious and having a strong sense of character development.

Condron said that the TUPS officers gravitated toward Mihalski’s “Burger Islanders: Infinity Sauce” because it was hilarious and had the right amount of character development that they were looking for.

“Nathan is a funny person and he pulled characters from people that we know here in real life which made it even better because we are a close group of people in real life, so to read that was hilarious,” Condron said.

In an interview, Mihalski said that the one-act play (his second ever written) was a culmination of writings he did for a playwriting course he took during his sophomore year at Trinity. The play surrounds fast food characters working at a chain restaurant who deal with normal inconveniences that Mihalski aimed to present in a comical way. Mihalski described his play as both “relatable and really out there.”

As an incentive for students to participate in the playwriting competition, TUPS set out an award for the winner: a $50 gift card and an on-campus performance of the winner’s play. The show’s co-directors, Henry Couch and Kirstiene Victoriano, will hold auditions for the play during the last two weeks of February.

Mihalski said he hopes to act as a point of consultation for the actors who will be performing his play, letting the actors in on the background of what he was thinking when he wrote the script.

Mihalski said that he hopes an audience will get some laughter out of his play, as well as the feeling of familiarity.

“It is really not meant to feel familiar, just given the course of actions in the show, but the circumstances in some ways are. It is meant to kind of feel both familiar and alien, so it is just this kind of déjà vu moment,” Mihalski said.

As far as the future is concerned, Mihalski hopes to pursue a career in teaching theater; he said that ideally his shows would become published works that he can use one day in his classroom.