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    Monday, June 24, 2024

    O’Neill Center to hold benefit reading of ‘Ship of Fools’

    Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman (Submitted)

    The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford will begin its 60th anniversary celebrations with a benefit reading of the play “Ship of Fools” by National Playwrights Conference alumni Ron Cowen (NPC ’67, ’68, ’72) and Daniel Lipman (NPC ’72).

    The reading, which will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday on the O’Neill’s campus, is directed by Mark Brokaw (“How I Learned to Drive,” “Lobby Hero,” “This Is Our Youth”), with casting by David Caparelliotis.

    The play, an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Anne Porter’s 1962 novel of the same name, follows aspiring American novelist Jenny Brown as she journeys on a second-rate German passenger ship named Vera from Mexico to pre-World War II Europe on the eve of Hitler’s ascension to power.

    “It’s also about how in 1930’s Germany, its citizens - either because of prejudice, hatred, indifference, denial, complacency, moral turpitude or simple blindness to see the truth - willingly sacrificed their democracy to embrace a right-wing Fascist dictatorship intent on destroying people’s freedoms, and even their lives. We never imagined that today, our country would be on the brink of making the same fateful decision,” the playwrights said in a statement, adding, “ Porter once wrote, ‘I believe that human beings are capable of total evil, but no one is totally good: and this gives the edge to evil.’ Unwilling as we may be to believe that, her words ring truer today than when she wrote them. But as Martin Luther King said, ‘The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.’ As writers, we did all we can do, which is to write. But as people, we can keep our eyes open and speak out.”

    The cast includes: Caroline Aaron, Josiah Bania, Kerry Bishé, Colin Buckingham, Karina Curet, Gabriella Fanuele, Kate Jennings Grant, Byron Jennings, Robert Jimenez, Karl Kenzler, Priscilla Lopez, Eric William Morris, Caitlin O'Connell, Zak Orth, Josephine Pellow, Phillip Stoddard, Tyler Weeks, and Frank Wood.

    Tickets are $75 and $150 at www.theoneill.org. All proceeds from the reading will benefit the O’Neill’s year-round new work development initiatives.

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