The selected plays and writers are The Nether by Jennifer Haley; The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes (a collaboration with the Goodman Theatre, Chicago); Good Goods by Christina Anderson; An Incident by Anna Ziegler; Acquainted With the Night by Keith Reddin; Tell Us of the Night by Keith Huff; The Troublemaker Project by Dan LeFranc; and How We Got On by Idris Goodwin.
The selected playwrights will spend the month of July at the O'Neill's campus developing and presenting staged readings of their work — in a process that employs professional creative and support staff, including directors, dramaturgs, actors, and designers — during the NPC's 47th season.
NPC is under the leadership of artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg.
The selected works were chosen from nearly 1,000 plays received through the O'Neill's open submissions process, "which allows any playwright — with or without agent representation — to submit, and utilizes readers from across the country to choose works based on merit, without authorship attribution."
Here are the 2011 National Playwrights Conference selections at a glance: The Nether by Jennifer Haley
Performances: Wednesday, July 6 at 8:15 PM; Thursday, July 7 at 8:15 PM
"A young cyberdetective interrogates a successful businessman for atrocities against children. But are these crimes real, or committed only in the thought-space of the Nether?"
The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A collaboration with the Goodman Theatre, Chicago; Robert Falls, Artistic Director
Performances: Friday, July 8 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, July 9 at 8:15 PM
"On a movie set in Jordan, a veteran relives his trauma while filming a war-themed blockbuster. In a humble kitchen in North Philadelphia, a woman feeds her hungry neighbors as she falls in love with a local musician. A tale of two cousins who span the globe in search of redemption, humility and their place in the world."
Good Goods by Christina Anderson
Performances: Wednesday, July 13 at 8:15 PM; Thursday, July 14 at 8:15 PM
"A small Black town that doesn't appear on any map. Stacey Good, the straight man in a comedy duo, ditches the act to return home and take over his father's general store. His abandoned partner, Patricia, comes calling to disrupt his new life, but a fatal accident changes everything. Good Goods is a love story of the (dis)possessed."
An Incident by Anna Ziegler
Performances: Friday, July 15 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, July 16 at 8:15 PM
"An Incident follows the Nadelman family from New York City to Maine as parents Philip and Lillian visit Joey, their puzzling, hard-to-handle son, at sleep-away camp. After greeting his parents with even more hostility than usual, Joey disappears. In the search for their son, Philip and Lillian expose the truth of their own relationship, and the full Nadelman family portrait, complete with shades of regret, recrimination, humor, and loss, is developed before our eyes."
Acquainted With the Night by Keith Reddin
Performances: Wednesday, July 20 at 8:15 PM; Thursday, July 21 8:15 PM
"When the sun sets on a city that never sleeps, a world of lonely people emerges from the shadows. A community of these denizens of the night end up at a weather station in Antarctica where the sun doesn't rise for months on end. A close encounter with a frozen world of discovery and frustration, violence and penguins. Acquainted With the Night is an epic polar comedy that tackles that end of the world."
Tell Us of the Night by Keith Huff
Performances: Friday, July 22 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, July 23 at 3:15 PM
"Late one night, two stressed-out violent crimes unit detectives try to close the puzzling murder of a CTA employee. What should be a simple open-and-shut case, however, gradually evolves into a horrifying mystery and unearths a legacy of violence, bigotry, and injustice stretching back several years."
The Troublemaker Project by Dan LeFranc
Performances: Wednesday, July 27 at 8:15 PM; Thursday, July 28 at 8:15 PM
"Twelve-year-old Bradley Boatright thwarts single dads who want to date his mom, defeats a diabolical video game mastermind, outwits an evil Superintendent, and plans his escape to the lawless woods of French-Canada. But the world Bradley sees may not quite be the same as the one in which he lives. Prepare to embark on a fast-paced epic adventure full of drama, danger and kicking A."
How We Got On by Idris Goodwin
Performances: Friday, July 29 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, July 30 at 8:15 PM
"A classic American coming-of-age tale with a unique hip-hop treatment: domestic suburban life remixed. The Selector, our DJ/Narrator, samples and loops us through the lives of three Midwestern teen rappers who have yet to discover the power of harmony over discord."
Tickets for these readings go on sale June 8. Advanced ticket sales for O'Neill Members will be available May 16.
For more information, call the O'Neill at (860) 443-5378, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.theoneill.org. Schedules are subject to change.
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is the recipient of two Tony Awards, in 2010 for Regional Theatre, and in 1979 for Theatrical Excellence.
The O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway and major regional theatres.
O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute, which conducts semester-long intensive theatre-training programs, and Theatermakers, a six-week summer program.
Former NPC plays in production this year include A Devil at Noon by Anne Washburn (Humana Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville); Spoon Lake Blues by Josh Tobiessen (April 1-24 at The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta); The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare (now on Broadway), The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Reed (to May 15 at Roundabout Underground Off-Broadway), The K of D by Laura Schellhardt (June 22-July 2 at the Adirondack Theatre Festival), Follow Me to Nellie's by Dominique Morriseau (a reading July 14-31 at Premiere Stages, New York City), The Language Archive by Julia Cho (to June 18 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival).