Keeley Thomas from the University of Pittsburgh is the author of one of the winning plays, Idle Academia. The one-act play skillfully employs the topic of the unhappy individual in the land of plenty, creating Havelian characters plodding through a painfully realistic world of contemporary academia and publishing culture. Her play was inspired by the quote from the The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, written by Vaclav Havel.
Keeley Thomas is a rising junior studying economics, film and media, and theatre arts at the University of Pittsburgh. She recently made her PittStages debut performing as Eleanor in Claire Chafee’s Why We Have a Body. She is a member of the Vira I. Heinz Program 2022 Cohort, a program that aids women and gender-minoritized students in developing a global competency through international experiences and community service. As a VIH Program awardee, Keeley spent her summer studying the social dynamics of reconciliation, peacebuilding, and Spanish language in Cartagena, Colombia with the School for International Training.
Keeley is interested in how art reflects the economic and political conditions of a nation state. This year’s quote inspired her to write about the insatiability of humanity and the ways in which “idle” hands always seem to create problems for themselves, despite “all the basic needs of the individuals having been satisfied.”
Keeley will receive a two-week residency at the Academy for Performing Arts in Prague, where she is particularly interested in observing classes from the authorial acting program. The residency will take place in November 2022—around November 17th, the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
You can read Keeley Thomas’s winning play Idle Academia here.