National Playwrights Conference starts at O'Neil Center

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn has a new play in dvelopment at this year's National Playwrights Conference.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn has a new play in dvelopment at this year's National Playwrights Conference.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn is among the dramatists who are developing new works at this year's National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

Wendy C. Goldberg, who is the conference's artistic director, directed Auburn's "Proof" in 2002 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

And she will direct Auburn's latest play, "Lost Lake," at the O'Neill. In this comedy-drama, two strangers' lives collide after a mother, hoping for a restful week away from her city home, rents a dilapidated cabin on a lake. Performances will run July 26 and 27.

Auburn was an invited artist at the conference, but the other eight were selected from open submissions - which drew 1,100 plays all together.

The dramatists will develop and see staged readings of their plays during the month of July at the O'Neill. This, by the way, is the 49th season for this renowned conference.



O'Neill National Playwrights Conference schedule

All performances take place at the O'Neill, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford. Tickets to performances at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference are $28. Call (860) 443-1238 or visit the

• "The Solid Sand Below" by Martín Zimmerman

8:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, and July 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

7:15 p.m. July 5; 8:15 p.m. July 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.

• "A Great Wilderness" by Samuel D. Hunter

8:15 p.m. July 10 and 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.

• "Little Children Dream of God" by Jeff Augustin

7:15 p.m. July 12; 8:15 p.m. July 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 she struggles to make a life for herself in America, she faces ghosts from her past.

• "The Oregon Trail" by Bekah Brunstetter

8:15 p.m. July 17 and 18

Jane's trapped in her middle school computer lab playing "The Oregon Trail." The game becomes life, travelling back to 1848 and finding Jane's great great grandmother in a covered wagon.

• "All the Roads Home" by Jen Silverman

7:15 p.m. July 19; 3:15 p.m. July 20

Three women - in the 1950s, '70s and today - choose which dreams to sacrifice and when to keep fighting. 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.

• "Evanston: A Rare Comedy" by Michael Yates Crowley

8:15 p.m. July 24 and 25

"Evanston: A Rare Comedy" begins with the disappearance of a teenage girl in 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 Whole Foods check-out clerk, and the financial crisis rages on.

• "Lost Lake" by David Auburn

7:15 p.m. July 26 and 8:15 p.m. July 27

See description in accompanying article.


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