On June 16th, 2012, I presented a reading of Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust, an excerpt from Object of Her Affection at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. In Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust, a woman who desires intimate relationships with inanimate objects discovers that the bridge she has come to love has been cheating on her.
The reading was part at the culmination of the 2012 National Puppetry Conference that ran from June 6th-17th, where I was in a writing for puppetry intensive with mentor, Ronnie Burkett. Ronnie Burkett is a Toronto-based puppet artist, best known for his original theatrical plays for adults, performed with marionettes.
The National Puppetry Conference (NPC) was established in 1990 by Jane Henson, George Latshaw, Richard Termine, Bobbie Nidzgorski, Bart P. Roccoberton Jr., Jim Rose and Margo Rose. The NPC is sponsored by the Rose Endowment for Puppetry. The conference lasts for eight days, during which time participants work with renowned puppet artists as well as each other. Participants can explore different performance styles and techniques during workshops, rehearsals, and master classes. Newcomers and experienced puppeteers alike attend this conference. Participants attend a three-day course before the conference, which focuses on the main aspects that comprise puppetry: creating a narrative, building the puppet, and training the performer.
The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut is a theater company founded in 1964 by George C. White. The O’Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards, the 1979 Special Award and the 2010 Regional Theatre Award,and the 2015 National Medal of Arts presented on September 22, 2016 by President Obama. The O’Neill is a multi-disciplinary institution that has had a transformative effect on American theater. The O’Neill pioneered play development and stage readings as a tool for new plays and musicals, and is also home to the National Theater Institute (est. 1970), an intensive study-away semester for undergraduates. Its major theater conferences include: the National Playwrights Conference (est. 1965); the National Critics Conference (est. 1968), the National Musical Theater Conference (est. 1978), the Puppetry Conference (est. 1990), and the Cabaret & Performance Conference (est. 2005). The Monte Cristo Cottage, Eugene O’Neill’s childhood home in New London, Connecticut, was purchased and restored by the O’Neill in the 1970s and is maintained as a museum. The theater’s campus, overlooking Long Island Sound in Waterford Beach Park, has four major performance spaces: two indoor and two outdoor. The O’Neill is led by Executive Director Preston Whiteway.