O'Neill's Playwrights Conference to Develop Works by Theresa Rebeck and Greg Kotis

By Adam Hetrick
April 18, 2012

New plays by Theresa Rebeck, Laura Jacqmin and Dominic Taylor will be developed this summer at the Tony Award-winning Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference. Tony-winning Urinetown writer Greg Kotis will be in residence this summer.



The annual Playwrights Conference, under the artistic direction of Wendy C. Goldberg, invites a handful of playwrights to its Waterford, CT, campus for several weeks each July to develop new works with a team of established directors and actors. Eight plays have been selected for the 2012 component.

"I am so pleased to welcome these playwrights and their projects to The O'Neill for our 2012 National Playwrights Conference," Goldberg said in a statement. "Our commitment to finding the next generation of storytellers as well as serve as a home for writers throughout their careers is truly evident in this group of artists. Although there are many development programs that have grown up over the years, our original home of new work development keeps a unique and crucial place in the theatrical landscape. I am proud of the space we can provide collaborators in an effort to move their work forward into production."

Here's a look at the selections:

Provenance by Anne García-Romero
(Public performances July 4-5)
"In Los Angeles, two sisters receive a stolen painting created by their Mexican great-grandfather. Will the women keep the portrait in the family or sell the valuable artwork in order to survive?"

Reclamation by Ken Weitzman
(Public performances July 6-7)
"It's 2020 in the American West, and water shortages are forcing entire towns to relocate to urban centers. On the brink of relocation, Leland and Zach, a water manager and his assistant, attempt an unusual deal to save their town and what they call the 'Spirit of the West.'"

Two Lakes, Two Rivers by Laura Jacqmin
(Public performances July 11-12)
"In a Midwestern town, college boys are drinking ‘n’ drowning for no apparent reason – despite whatever spells the Moms are casting at their 24/7 memorial. Then Peter disappears – without admitting to the crime his ex-girlfriend Bonnie is sure he’s guilty of. As the town tries to solve the mystery of what’s happening, Bonnie tries to understand what’s already happened."

Hype Hero (King Patch) by Dominic Taylor
(Public performances July 13-14)
"Large corporations have taken over the debt of poor citizens and one of these citizens {Rick (a patched man on his way to work)} has the temerity to ask the mayor a question. Since he cannot reach the corporation, he figured asking his local representative could answer his question. Since he is already in debt, how much will the answer cost us?"

Alligator by Hilary Bettis
(Public performances July 18-19)
"Emerald and her twin brother, Ty, are orphaned ‘gator wrestlers living in the backwoods of the Florida Everglades, but their sideshow days are close to an end when a doe-eyed runaway, Lucy, shows up on their porch in the middle of a thunderstorm. As Lucy's desperation to win Emerald over intensifies, she will do whatever it takes to please her… even if it leads to murder. The only hope left rests on Emerald who must face the demon that haunts her every waking moment."

Orange Julius by Basil Kreimendahl
(Public performances July 20-21)
"After being poisoned by Agent Orange in the jungles of Vietnam, Julius is dying of intestinal cancer. Nut, his queer daughter, tries to reconnect with her father as one man to another by caring for his decaying body, sorting through her childhood memories, and diving into war movie fantasies. As worlds and identities blur, Nut finds herself fighting for her father’s life in ways she never expected."

The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik
(Public performances July 25-26)
"Welcome to Poor Prairie, the dusty, desolate town where fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Jean has been exiled as caretaker for her wild-child cousin, Almeda. It's a grim, dangerous place to eke out an existence as a teenage girl—until a handsome man with a past arrives, a brand-new basketball in tow. As the town's girls come together to form a team set on making it out of Poor Prairie, a murky committee of townspeople threatens to stamp out girls' sports altogether."

Fool by Theresa Rebeck ("Smash," Seminar)
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
(Public performances July 27-28)
"Two jesters go head to head: Who is funnier? A comedy about comedy, tyranny and the love of the king."

Kotis, the Tony-winning book writer and lyricist of Urinetown, will develop a new, untitled work.

Here's how it's characterized: "Eli's a stay-at-home dad. Eli's secretly in love with Ms. Melissa, his son's 5th grade teacher. Russell just lost his job, so now he’s a stay-at-home dad, too. Russell's starting to fall for Ms. Melissa, which is a problem because Eli's been holding a torch for Ms. Melissa a lot longer than Russell. Ms. Harper is the school’s principal. She's dealing with severe budget cuts - and now, two fathers who seem to be putting the moves on her favorite teacher. Set in a public elementary school in Brooklyn, this new play explores parenthood, education, and the perils of adults playing with fire."

Tickets go on sale to the public June 8. 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.