13TH ANNUAL Eugene O'Neill CELEBRATION, exploring O'Neill's recently unearthed one-act Exorcism, is scheduled for this weekend, Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th at the Monte Cristo Cottage. All events are free and open to the public, including a film screening of O'Neill's iconic LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, a reading of EXORCISM by a cast of O'Neill friends, expert panel discussion, and tours of the Cottage.
The Eugene O'Neill Celebration, presented with the generous support of the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, honors the American Playwright, winner of four Pulitzer Prizes and the only American dramatist to receive the Nobel Prize. The Monte Cristo Cottage, O'Neill's boyhood summer home located in New London, is a registered National Historic Landmark. The Cottage is owned and operated by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
EXORCISM, written by O'Neill in his early thirties, is widely viewed as autobiographical work, and a prequel to the more well-known LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. It details ongoing inner toils with self, with family, and with addiction – all prominent themes for the more famous work. O'Neill believed he'd destroyed all known copies of the work. 90 years later, a copy of the manuscript was unearthed.
THE CELEBRATION opens on Friday, October 5th at 8:00pm, with a film screening of Long Day's Journey Into Night, starring Kevin Spacey and Jason Robards, at the Monte Cristo Cottage.
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference, a reading of EXORCISM will take place on Saturday morning at 10:00am. The cast features some prominent names from the O'Neill Center past: television and stage veteran Reed Birney, who received a Special 2012 Drama Desk Award honoring his thirty six years of work as an actor; Will Rogers, whose Off-Broadway and Regional performances include The Public Theater, NY Fringe Festival, Humana Festival, and the 2012 National Playwrights Conference; Jordan Gelber, National Theater Institute alumnus, stage and television star who originated the role of Brian in Avenue Q; Jeremy Bobb, whose television credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and All My Children; and John Jellison, whose 30-year Broadway career includes SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, ME AND MY GIRL, TITANIC, CAROLINE OR CHANGE, and the upcoming MOTOWN THE MUSICAL.
Following the reading, a panel of Eugene O'Neill experts will deconstruct the long-lost work in the context of its foreshadowing of LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. Moderated by Connecticut College's Robert A. Richter, the panel will feature Central Connecticut State University 's Robert M. Dowling, Dan Sullivan, Director of the O'Neill's National Critics Institute, and Beth Wynstra, professor at Babson College and Board Member of the Eugene O'Neill Society.
The Monte Cristo Cottage, located at 325 Pequot Avenue, will be open to the public following the events for free tours until 3:30pm. For more information and to register, please visit the O'Neill website, www.theoneill.org.
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O'Neill, America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is America's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. It has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full productions at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, off-Broadway, and major regional theaters.
Recent successes from the National Playwrights Conference include The Nether by Jennifer Haley, developed at the 2011 NPC, which was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize- given each year to the best play in the English language by a female writer. The Nether will be given a world premiere production by the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in 2013. Other upcoming productions of works developed at the 2011 NPC include Another Way Home by Anna Ziegler (called An Incident while at the O'Neill) at Magic Theatre, Troublemaker by Dan LeFranc at Berkeley Rep, and Leveling Up by Deborah Zoe Laufer at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, directed by NPC Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg. During Goldberg's eight-year-tenure, over 40 works have gone on to world premiere productions.