Now Actor Enid Graham Is Writing The Words, Too At The O'Neill

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Enid Graham has plenty of acting credits, including Broadway’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, M. Butterfly and receiving a Tony Award nomination for Honour.(Connecticut audiences may remember her as one of the British ladies who escape their dreary lives in Enchanted Aprilmore than 15 years ago at Hartford Stage.)

But she’s also a playwright and part of the group of scribes developing new work at this year’s National Playwrights Conference from July 5-28 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford. Her play Ruth, the story of a woman trying to start a new life in New York, receives a staged reading July 13-14 at 7:15 p.m. Mark Brokaw directs.

“It’s challenging to try to do something new that you haven’t done before,” she says from her home in New York. “It’s always a little scary to say to someone, ‘I wrote a play.’ But I think that getting to the O’Neill will help me personally to just feel confident as a writer.”

She remembers being at her kitchen table one morning this spring when she received an email saying she had been accepted at the conference. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had to drag my husband out off the shower to tell him.”

Now she can simply say she’s a playwright without hesitation.

“Everyone needs some kind of shorthand to let people know what they do in some sort of legitimate way. If you’re an actress, you can say, ‘I’m doing a play at Lincoln Center,’ and people think, ‘Oh, you’re really an actress.’ ”

She says being at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference gives her writing that same sort of legitimacy. “And hopefully people will take me seriously — and read my other plays, too.”