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The Hammond Mansion at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. (Photo by Isaak Berliner.)

O’Neill Playwrights Conference Kicks Off With 6 New Plays

This year’s national conference features work by jose sebastian alberdi, Jan Rosenberg, a.k. payne, Alex Lin, Collin Van Son, and Liba Vaynberg.

WATERFORD, CONN.: The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2023 National Playwrights Conference (NPC) began last week, with new works by jose sebastian alberdi, Jan Rosenberg, a.k. payne, Alex Lin, Collin Van Son, and Liba Vaynberg.

The NPC kicked off with alberdi’s bogfriends, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody and starring Michael Benz and Jon Norman Schneider. The play follows three groups in multiple time periods navigating love, power dynamics, and how to preserve dead things. Charles Haugland served as dramaturg.

The conference continued with Rosenberg’s Pluck (June 22 and 24), starring Heidi Armbruster, Jess Gabor, Sky Lakota-Lynch, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and Neil Tyrone Pritchard. The play follows teenage twins Cleo and Bea in a dark coming-of-age story about running away. Adrienne Campbell-Holt directed, and Carrie Chapter served as dramaturg.

payne’s Love I Awethu Further will be staged June 28 and 30, and will be directed by Tamilla Woodard with dramaturgy by abigail jean-baptiste. This adaptation of Julius Caesar set in the Antebellum South stars Whitney Andrews, Ngozi Anyanwu, Rosalyn Coleman, Abigail Onwunali, Alicia Pilgrim, Cristina Pitter, Madeline Seidman, and N’yomi Stewart.

Next up will be Lin’s CHINESE REPUBLICANS (June 29 and July 1), starring Christine Toy Johnson, Vanessa Kai, Ben Langhorst, Jully Lee, and Jeena Yi. The play follows a high-flying financier who tries to unionize her aunties after losing out on a promotion. Chay Yew will direct, with dramaturgy by Zeina Salame.

The conference will continue with Van Son’s Natural History (July 5 and 7), directed by Jackson Gay. Set in 2165, the play follows two environmental activists who try to steal the last taxidermied bison from the American Museum of Natural History—only to find that it’s already gone. Adam Langdon, Russell Jones, and Emilia Suarez will star, and Chelsea Radigan will serve as dramaturg.

The conference will conclude with Vaynberg’s The Matriarchs, starring Rachel Botchan, Molly Carden, Rebecca S’Manga Frank, and Anna O’Donoghue. The play follows six squabbling teenagers at a weekly Talmud lesson and is loosely based on stories of women from the Torah. NPC guest artistic director Melia Bensussen will direct, with dramaturgy by Kristin Leahey.

Casting for the 2023 NPC was conducted by Dave Caparelliotis Casting.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theatre. The O’Neill has been home to over 1,000 new works and thousands more emerging artists and students.

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