David Auburn, Bekah Brunstetter and Samuel D. Hunter Selected for O'Neill Center's Playwrights Conference

By Adam Hetrick
16 Apr 2013

Bekah Brunstetter
Bekah Brunstetter

Works by Samuel D.Hunter, Bekah Brunstetter and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof playwright David Auburn are among the eight plays that will be nurtured as part of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2013 National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, CT.

The Playwrights Conference, under the leadership of artistic director Wendy C. Goldberg, will bring together directors, dramaturgs, actors and designers, who will work to develop the eight new plays throughout the month of July. Playwrights selected also include Martín Zimmerman, Lauren Yee, Jeff Augustin, Jen Silverman and Michael Yates Crowley. In addition, writers Sarah Gubbins and Joshua Harmon will be in residence working on new plays.

"I am very proud of this season," Goldberg said in a statement. "It is incredibly exciting to be developing these projects and to be working with these innovative writers this summer. The 1,100 scripts submitted are the highest ever during my tenure, and selection was a highly competitive process. Our plays come from this deep pool and also include an invited artist, David Auburn, whom I am happy to welcome to the O'Neill."

Here's a look at the 2013 titles:



The Solid Sand Below
By Martín Zimmerman
(July 3-4)
"Julian Flores narrowly escapes a prison sentence and lands in Iraq where he's anything but a model soldier. But when an I.E.D. blast nearly costs him his life, something changes for Flores. Soon the adrenaline, clarity, and intimacy of battle become something he can’t live without—even after he returns home."

Samsara
By Lauren Yee
(July 5-6)
"Katie and Craig are having a baby… with a surrogate… who lives in India. A month before the baby's due date, Craig reluctantly travels to the subcontinent, where he meets Suraiya, their young, less-than-thrilled surrogate. As all three 'parents' anxiously wait for the baby to be born, flights of fancy attack them from all sides, in the form of an unctuous Frenchman and a smart-mouthed fetus. A whimsical take on modern-day colonialism."

A Great Wilderness
By Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by Braden Abraham
(July 10-11)
"Facing a forced retirement and early signs of dementia, a man who's devoted his life to counseling teenage boys out of their homosexuality has taken on one last patient at his remote mountain cabin in Idaho. But when tragedy strikes and his life and mind begin to unravel, he is forced to confront some demons of his own."

Little Children Dream of God
By Jeff Augustin
(July 12-13)
"Risking it all to ensure a better life for her unborn son, Sula travels from Haiti to Miami floating on a car tire. As Sula struggles to make a life for herself in America, she comes face to face with ghosts from her past. Will she be able to forge a new beginning for herself and her son or will Sula be held captive to the demons that haunt her?"

The Oregon Trail
By Bekah Brunstetter
(July 17-18)
"Jane's trapped in her middle school computer lab playing 'The Oregon Trail' for what feels like hours. The game becomes life and rips us back to the trail, 1848, where we travel in a covered wagon with Jane's great great grandmother. As game moves us, back, forward and back again, Now-Jane's and Then-Jane's sadnesses are delicately juxtaposed in this play-meets-video game about depression, Then and Now."

All the Roads Home
By Jen Silverman
(July 19-20)
"Madeleine wanted to be a dancer, her daughter Max wanted to be a cowboy, and Max's daughter, Nix, has no idea what she wants, but knows it has to be enough for all of them. Set in the 50's, 70's and today, three women choose which dreams to sacrifice and when to keep fighting. All the Roads Home is about freedom, family, and finding hope where you least expect it."

Evanston: A Rare Comedy
By Michael Yates Crowley
(July 24-25)
"Evanston: A Rare Comedy begins with the disappearance of a teenage girl in deepest suburbia and ends when a meeting of the local Women's Book Club goes horribly awry. In between, a housewife dreams of Mexico, an economics professor has an affair with a check-out clerk at Whole Foods, and the financial crisis rages on. Inspired by the words of Psalm 137 and the best-seller 'Eat, Pray, Love,' Evanston: A Rare Comedy takes a look at Middle America and asks: how can we sing a song of joy in this strange land?"

Lost Lake
By David Auburn
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
(July 26-27)
"In this melancholy comedy/drama, the lives of two strangers become entwined when a single mother in search of a week's escape from the city rents a decrepit lakeside cabin."

Tickets go on sale to the public June 5. Phone (860) 443-1238 or visit www.theoneill.org.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center was founded in 1964 and is based in Waterford, CT. Programs at the Center include the Puppetry Conference, Playwrights Conference, Critics Institute, Music Theater Conference and the National Theater Institute. The Monte Cristo Cottage, O'Neill's childhood home, is also owned and operated by the group.