Tales from The O'Neill: The National Playwrights Conference Begins

By Sophia Saifi
05 Jul 2013

The plays reach the O'Neill after an extensive open submission policy and each play has its own cast, director and dramaturg. 

"The O'Neill is one of the first and of the first places in the county to do this," said Goldberg.

Anyone who has written a play that hasn't been produced professionally can submit it to the NPC, regardless of them having an agent or not.

"This particular season we reached the most submissions in my time," said Goldberg. "1100 plays."

It is a process that has become synonymous with the O'Neill. "It’s very important to us," explained Goldberg. "We closed the submissions in 2004 and there was an outrage in the theatre community."

It was reinstated the following year.

Seven of the plays this year have been selected through the open submission process with one invited participant. This year’s honor goes to David Auburn, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Proof. He is writing a script for the O'Neill which be directed by Goldberg herself.

In different parts of the campus carefully bound scripts are at hand for anyone interested in reading them. Martin Zimmerman's Solid Sand Below, Lauren Yee's Samsara and A Great Wilderness by Samuel D. Hunter are already in process. Performances have been staged under the branches of a large copper beech tree, in the open-air Edith Oliver Theatre.

There is a dedication to good work at the NPC, devoid of any ulterior motive.

"We are looking to move projects from the space here into the world without any financial connections," said Goldberg with great conviction. "It's just a philosophical urge to put good work out in the world."

Tickets for the National Playwrights Conference performances may be purchased online at theoneill.org or through the box office at (860) 443-1238.