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On a silver platter

With his family fast asleep, Thomas Gibbons starts writing at 4 a.m. every day. By 7:30, he’s already on the train to his day job in medical publishing, with more accomplished before dawn than most of us can claim by sunset.  

With his family fast asleep, Thomas Gibbons starts writing at 4 a.m. every day. By 7:30, he’s already on the train to his day job in medical publishing, with more accomplished before dawn than most of us can claim by sunset.

Over the years, this strict discipline has resulted in measured, thoroughly researched plays and productions staged in every region of the country, from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut to the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. His work is typically based on real-life events, and his hometown often plays a pivotal role, like in “Permanent Collection” (The Barnes Foundation controversy) and “A House With No Walls” (a depiction of slaves at Independence Mall).

His latest, “Silverhill,” is based on the Oneida commune — an obscure 19th-century Christian community in upstate New York.

“I decided I needed a less controversial subject to write about, so I chose sex, religion and money,” he deadpans. “I’ve been fascinated by the rise of the prosperity gospel — this idea that God wants his followers to be wealthy, not only in spirit, but to prosper materially as well. The thing that fascinated me about Oneida was that they were a communistic community. They felt that communism was most compatible with the teachings of Christ.”

And what happened to the hundreds of faithful residents? Within 30 years, they became a corporation: Today, Oneida Limited is one of the foremost manufacturers of silverware.

‘Silverhill’
Through Nov. 14
InterAct Theatre Co.
Adrienne Theatre
$27-$32, 215-588-8079
www.interacttheatre.org