Tales From the O'Neill: Highlights From The National Playwrights Conference

By Sophia Saifi
05 Aug 2013

Playbill.com offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the highlights of the National Playwrights Conference. 



Unexpected thunderstorms, eight plays spanning two continents and wonderfully eccentric moments at the beach are just some of the events that made up the 49th annual National Playwrights Conference (NPC) at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

It has been an eventful month in Waterford, CT. Renowned for being a place where playwrights can work on their scripts without any hindrance from the outside world, the campus of the O'Neill is far removed from the urban landscape of the city. Time here is known as O'Neill time: It is slow and languid. Days start at 7 AM and go on late into the night, ending with poker games and bottles of whiskey. Production managers alert residents of the arrival of ice cream vans through the radio and misty mornings begin with the distant groan of foghorns from Long island Sound.

Jen Silverman described her time at the O'Neill has been "wonderful," while Samuel D. Hunter, who was last here eight years ago, described it as a homecoming, saying, "I don't think I'm overstating it when I say the O'Neill really feels like a home to me." 

On the last two days of the conference, Wendy C. Goldberg, artistic director of the NPC, sits down with each playwright and discusses the future of his or her play. She said the aim is to "try to help create opportunity and work toward production plans."

While much work was produced and presented this summer, fun was never far from the picture, ranging from Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn killing it at live band karaoke to the appearance of a mysterious stripper's pole.

Here's a look at some the most memorable moments at this year's National Playwrights Conference. 

 

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