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In the theater world, there are plenty of competitions and awards for emerging playwrights and emerging actors. But directorial competitions, especially locally, are somewhat harder to come by. Which is why Torn Space Theatre’s inaugural Emerging Directors Competition is worth noting.

The competition’s first winner, Matt Sekellick, will open his winning production of “Detour,” adapted from the original screenplay for the 1945 film by Martin Goldsmith, at 8 p.m. Thursday. As part of the competition, Sekellick and his fellow emerging directors were given instructions that their production must use dialogue from “Detour,” fit within Torn Space’s theater in the Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle and Library and use a limited number of performers.

In a release, Torn Space called the production that emerged from those guidelines under Sekellick’s direction “an inventive and vibrant imagining” of Goldsmith’s screenplay.

The original film focuses on the sordid westward journey of a hitchhiker whose string of bad luck follows him all the way from New York to Los Angeles. But if Torn Space’s previous productions based on films are any indication, this one is likely to take a significant stylistic detour from the source material. This production features Andrew Kottler as the hitchhiker, along with James Heffron and Becky Globus. Torn Space also will present a sound and performance piece by Todd Lesmeister and a 15-minute set from Disaster Films today through Saturday, the Soul Butchers on July 23-24 and the Johns on July 25 to 27.

Call 812-5733 or visit www.tornspacetheater.com.

– Colin Dabkowski