"It pleases me to be able to support these storytellers as we come back to live, in person programming and out of a difficult chapter for our artists in this country. I am excited to invest in the future of our artform by supporting the next generation of playwrights, as we have for almost 60 years on our stunning and inspiring campus."
- Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director
Since 1964, NPC has developed more than 750 new plays, including early works of award-winning writers such as Lee Blessing, Adam Bock, Kia Corthron, Christopher Durang, John Guare, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, David Lindsay-Abaire, Martyna Majok. Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and Jeremy O. Harris.
The 2022 conference returns to a fully in-person experience on the O'Neill campus. Six plays were selected, each of which will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process and be presented as public staged readings featuring award-winning casts and creative teams.
BY KATE DOUGLAS
It’s 2044. Bees are extinct in the wild, kept alive inside synthetic apiaries where they live year-round in perpetual spring. After a freak accident, lab assistants Zora and Pilar discover that the bees have an unusually positive response to dead human flesh... And, as the bees begin to thrive, Zora and Pilar must find a way to save the bees that satiates their new appetites.
Kate Douglas is a writer, composer and performer. Recent plays/musicals include Wonderland (Finalist, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award), Against Women & Music! (with Grace McLean, The Civilians) and The Ninth Hour (with Shayfer James, The Met Cloisters). Her work has been developed at New Victory Theater, Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows Program, SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Civilians R&D Group, Rhinebeck Musicals, and the Writer’s Colony at Goodspeed. She has over eight years of experience creating, writing, and directing immersive, multidisciplinary events as Associate Artist at The McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, where she was also a performer. In 2022, she was a Semi-Finalist for the Page 73 Fellowship and joined the faculty at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.
As a complement to her artistic practice, she is a New York Master Naturalist and Citizen Tree Pruner. She is currently working towards her Horticulture Certificate in Sustainable Garden Design with the New York Botanical Garden. One day, she hopes to become a beekeeper.
FRIDAY, JUNE 24 | 7PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 25 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
BY JUCOBY JOHNSON
Best friends, Jay and Evan, run a convenience store in a rapidly changing neighborhood. An offer from a real estate developer tests their deep-rooted connection. The choice to sell weighs heavily on Evan’s shoulders, as the very foundation of their world begins to rumble and quake, ripping apart their community. An intimate play that races towards apocalyptic ends, 5, examines a friendship tested by money, race, and family secrets brought to light.
JuCoby Johnson has been seen onstage at The Guthrie Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Jungle Theater, Theater Latté Da, Theater Mu, Ten Thousand Things Theatre Company, and many more. His plays include How It's Gon Be (Underdog Theatre, 2019), ...but you could've held my hand (2020 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference), 5 (2021 O'Neill NPC Finalist, Seven Devils Finalist), I'll Be Seeing You Again (Jungle Serial Audio Series, 2021) and Revelations (Playing On Air, 2021). He is a 2021-22 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting and an Artistic Associate at The Jungle Theater.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29 | 8PM
THURSDAY, JUNE 30 | 8PM
Dina Merrill Theater
BY NEENA BEBER
Kate Suspended follows Kate Weissman—a journalist of a certain age whose career hangs by a thread in a profession she no longer recognizes—as she embarks on a picaresque journey to say goodbye to her father, her younger self, and the alternate paths she might have taken. A comedy about grief, regret, and moving on.
Neena Beber is a playwright, screenwriter, and lyricist who was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her plays include the Obie-award winning Jump/Cut, as well as A Foreign Body, The Dew Point, Hard Feelings, Tomorrowland, A Common Vision, The Brief but Exemplary Life of the Living Goddess (as told by herself), and Misreadings, published by Concord Theatricals. She is a recipient of a “Go Write a Play” Lilly Award; the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award; Sloan and Amblin Commissions; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist; Sloan Exchange at the Royal Court Theatre.
Neena is the author of librettos for the operas Ulysses, Home, and Kassandra with composer Anthony Brandt (Rice University; Opera in the Heights). A member of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, she has contributed to New York Public Library at Lincoln Center’s Songbook Series: Broadway’s Future; Songs from an Immigrant by frequent collaborator Jaime Lozano; Jade Alaska (composer Ben Diskant) commissioned by TheaterWorks USA. Current TV/film: co-executive producer for the current season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and an adaptation of Cama Adentro with director Rodrigo García. Current theater: adapting Brecht’s The Mother with Jessica Hecht. B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University; M.F.A from N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts (Paulette Goddard Fellow). An alumna of New Dramatists, Neena has taught at the MFA playwriting program at Columbia University, sits on the advisory board of The Orchard Project, and mentors for Reel Works.
FRIDAY, JULY 1 | 7PM
SATURDAY, JULY 2 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
Big Black Sunhats
BY MALLORY JANE WEISS
It's been forty years since Penelope, Bobbi, and Evelyn last waved goodbye to their husbands—Owen, Percy, and Hugo—as the men embarked on a perilous sea journey. But it turns out, the men aren’t dead after all. They're coming home bearing tales, talismans, and a dangerous proposition: youth. (Oh, and they haven’t aged a day since they left.) What would Penelope, Bobbi, and Evelyn sacrifice for more time?
Mallory Jane Weiss’s plays include Big Black Sunhats (Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission finalist 2020), LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO (Clubbed Thumb reading June 2022), The Page Turners (The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist 2021), Pony Up (Princess Grace Finalist 2019; SPACE on Ryder Farm semi-finalist 2020), Howl From Up High (in development with Gingold Theatrical Group), Evermore Unrest (Red Bull Short New Play Festival 2020), Dave and Julia are stuck in a tree (Playing on Air’s James Stevenson Prize 2020), and Losing You, Which Is Enough (workshop readings at The Lark and Cherry Lane Theatre). She is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group (2021-2022), The COOP’s Clusterf**k vol. 2 (2021), Gingold Theatrical Group’s Speakers Corner (2018-2019), and Fresh Ground Pepper’s BRB Retreat (2019). Mallory earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.F.A. in playwriting from The New School. She currently works as a Senior Writer for Ethena, where she creates harassment-prevention training in the form of short-form articles, graphic novels, audio plays, and more.
FRIDAY, JULY 8 | 7PM
SATURDAY, JULY 9 | 7PM
Dina Merrill Theater
House of India
BY DEEPAK KUMAR
In memory of her late husband, Ananya runs “House of India,” the last remaining restaurant in a once-flourishing Asian strip mall in Toledo, Ohio. Ananya faces immense pressure to change the restaurant: from her finances, from her environment, and most annoyingly, from Jacob, a Thai-American entrepreneur determined to convert the restaurant into a nationwide fast-casual Indo-fusion franchise. A play about South Indian food, familial expectations, and figuring out what really makes a "House" a home.
Deepak Kumar is a South Asian-American playwright, lyricist, composer, and researcher based out of the Internet. His work prominently features Asian-Americans grappling with the messiness of their identities as they relate to their unique American experiences. His first show, Baked! The Musical (co-written with Jord Liu) was featured at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2020, where it won awards for best lyrics, best lead performer, best supporting performer, and best ensemble. His theater work has been produced with Underscore Theatre in Chicago, the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), Musical Theatre Factory, PACE University in New York, Faultline Theater in San Francisco, and Shotgun Players in Berkeley, CA. When Deepak is not writing plays, he spends his time as a computing researcher, studying ways to measure and mitigate the effects of online hate and harassment. He received a BSE from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He currently resides in the Bay Area, California.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 13 | 8PM
THURSDAY, JULY 14 | 8PM
Edith Oliver Theater
BY MAX YU
When 20-year-old Leo drops out of college and returns home to San Francisco’s Chinatown, he discovers a secret that’s been kept from him: his father passed away weeks ago. To cope, Leo throws himself into his family’s untold past in the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution—which redefines everything and everyone he thought was his bloodline. Winner of the 2019 Relentless Award, Max Yu’s thrilling Nightwatch reckons with unknown histories and generations of hidden family stories.
Max Yu is a first-generation Chinese-American playwright from the San Francisco Bay Area. He has lived in Los Angeles, Shanghai, and now New York. He was featured in the New York Times for winning the American Playwrighting Foundation's 2019 Relentless Award for Nightwatch. He is the youngest and first Asian-American to win the prize. Max is a member of Page 73’s 2021-22 Interstate 73 Writers Group, and he is currently under commission from Atlantic Theater Company and Shaking the Tree Theater. His plays include Nightwatch (developed at the Goodman Theatre), Distance Abandoned (Second Generation Productions), Dragonfly (American Playwriting Foundation), The Edge (Shaking the Tree Theater), and Little Red (Horizon Theatre). Max's poetry and prose have been published in Spittoon, Babel, and Westwind. He received his B.A. in Theater from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied playwriting under Sylvan Oswald. You can find him at @maxyuliang and www.maxyu.carrd.co