Draftfcber, Chuck O'Conner, Wins the 2013 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays
By Melanie Perez, corporate communications manager, Chicago
Chuck O’Connor, director of strategic planning, Draftfcb Chicago, is the winner of Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s 2013 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. His work, “Miracles in the Fall,” which he began writing in February 2010, was selected among four finalists as the festival winner.
Chuck will now have the opportunity to work alongside directors and cast members specifically chosen to represent his winning work. In addition to that, Chuck takes home a crystal trophy, a bottle of wine and now has the opportunity to possibly put on a full production of his work with Polarity Ensemble. Here’s what Chuck had to say about his play and what he enjoys most about being a playwright.
How long have you been writing plays?
I started writing plays in my late teens and was first produced when I was 20. I kept at it through my twenties but then took a break for 10 years and started writing again three years ago.
What was your inspiration for “Miracles in the Fall”?
I was interested in the idea of how people find ways to survive against improbable odds. Growing up, my family always spoke of the miraculous comeback of the 1968 Detroit Tigers in the World Series and I've wanted to use that story as a metaphor. My personal concerns around survival led me to focus on that as a story element. The rest of the story flowed out of the context of that time and place.
What do you enjoy most about being a playwright?
The fact that it’s an on-going process of discovery. The best stories operate out of an intimate understanding of character. My process focuses on the understanding of my characters. Being able to think hard and long about what makes people do the things they do is a satisfying way of understanding the world.
Which playwrights do you admire (if any)? Why?
My favorite playwright is Arthur Miller because of his ability to marry moral commentary with theatricality so that the audience both thinks and feels about current troubles. I also love the work of Philip Ridley because he can create a very unique world that operates with internal consistency, yet communicates allegorically. He’s also dark and funny. Finally, Joe Orton because of his ability to upset the status quo.
What are you looking forward to most as the winner of the Dionysos Cup?
I am most looking forward to continue the collaboration with the director of the reading, Josh Sobel, Literary Manager of Strawdog Theater, within a full production that benefits from the guidance of Polarity Ensemble Theater's artistic director, Richard Engling.
You can read more about Chuck’s writing process and his play, “Miracles in the Fall,”here.