2014 National Playwrights Conference Selections
The O'Neill announced today its six new plays selected for development at the 50th annual National Playwrights Conference (NPC):
Tiger Style! by Mike Lew
I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard by Halley Feiffer
Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino
The Imaginary Music Critic Who Doesn't Exist by David Mitchell Robinson
Icarus Burns by Christopher Oscar Peña
Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield
Playwright Samuel D. Hunter will also be in residence during the conference working on a new play. No stranger to NPC, Mr. Hunter's A Great Wilderness was selected for development at the 2013 conference. He began his theatrical career at the O'Neill when he was invited to NPC 2005 by Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg during her first season leading the conference.
In addition to the seven selected writers at this year's conference, Goldberg also announced that she will direct the readings of David Mitchell Robinson's The Imaginary Music Critic Who Doesn't Exist. Trip Cullman will direct Halley Feiffer's I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard. Further directing and casting decisions will be announced at a later date.
The National Playwrights Conference is the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's founding program. Under the artistic leadership of Ms. Goldberg, each play will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process, employing acclaimed professional creative and support staff, including directors, dramaturgs, actors, and designers to bring the six new plays to life for the first time. Playwrights spend three weeks in July developing and presenting public staged readings of their work during NPC’s 50th season.
The six selected works were chosen from a record-breaking pool of over 1,200 plays received through the O’Neill’s open submissions process, which allows any playwright – with or without agent representation – to submit. Readers from across the country chose plays based on merit, without any authorship information.
Speaking about the season, Ms. Goldberg commented, "This was the most competitive O'Neill season yet, with over 1,200 submissions sent in to us. I am very excited to bring these six artists to the National Playwrights Conference for our 50th anniversary season. It is an incredibly dynamic and eclectic group of storytellers whose voices are at the forefront of the American theater. It is a privilege to develop their work in this, my 10th season as Artistic Director."
Almost sixty plays developed during Goldberg’s previous nine seasons with NPC have gone on to world premieres. The Nether by Jennifer Haley, developed during the 2011 NPC, was awarded the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and received a critically acclaimed world premiere production at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in 2013. Lost Lake by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Auburn, developed at the 2013 conference, will receive its world premiere production at Manhattan Theatre Club in October 2014. A Great Wilderness by Samuel D. Hunter, also developed at the 2013 conference, received its world premiere at Seattle Repertory Theatre in January 2014. Lauren Yee's Samsara will have its world premiere in 2015 at Victory Gardens.
O'Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway remarked, "I'm thrilled to welcome these six/seven writers this season, our 50th anniversary. They represent the best of new playwriting today. While construction truncates our 2014 season, I look forward to the new housing and rehearsal space accommodating even more exciting new writers and projects in the future."
The National Playwrights Conference runs from Wednesday, July 2 through Saturday, July 19 at the O’Neill’s campus in Waterford, Connecticut. Box Office ((860) 443-1238) and online ticket sales begin Wednesday, June 11; advance ticket sales are available to O’Neill Members beginning Wednesday, May 21. Schedules are subject to change.