ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

Barbara has participated in our past ONSTAGE fests, and shared a beautiful short play with our We’re Not Playing Initiative last fall, but this marks the first time one of her pieces has made it to the final line-up.  Her play, SPARK is a lovely bit of femme powered magical realism about a dissolving marriage.   I love the simplicity and the power of this piece and I know our audiences will too.  I absolutely cannot wait to see this play come to life! 


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Unlimited energy (no need for sleep). Because there’s always more that needs to be done!

Describe your writing space…

My kitchen when my family’s not around. The library when they are.

What is the title of your play?

Spark

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

Joan and Steven’s marriage has imploded, and he’s running away with the travel agent who booked their anniversary trip. That’s a pretty big hot mess. But when she finds solace in house full of whirring appliances, she realizes that maybe there’s hope after all.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it? 

Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard. I’ve read and seen this play a zillion times and continue to be in awe. It’s perfectly crafted, deeply felt, and crazy intense. It’s alternately life affirming and depressing as hell. Most impressive is how Fugard masterfully personalizes the complexities of Apartheid in the finely layered story of three interconnected lives.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

SACRED SPACE in the Neil Labute New Theatre Festival in St. Louis, (July). And, SHUT UP AND DANCE, in the Women in Theatre Festival in NYC (June).

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

STILL LIFE: Lydia’s daughter, Jackie, hasn’t returned home since a series of subway bombings in an unnamed city. Now she’s stuck waiting for news with her annoying son-in-law, Donald, and a mysterious millennial photographer who won’t stop following her. A darkly comic look at the way we adjust to life and loss in a terrorist age. (Produced in Seattle at Forward Flux Productions, and a reading this month at Cherry Lane in NYC)

Barbara’s Bio:

Full lengths produced at Northern Light (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Overtime (San Antonio), Forward Flux (Seattle) Trustus (Columbia, S.C.), Trinity Rep (Providence), the New York International Fringe Festival, off-Broadway Summer Play Festival, and more. A contributing writer to the upcoming 2017 national tour, THE GRIEF DIALOGUES. Plays have been developed in NYC at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, EST, ARACAworks, Rattlestick, and regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva, Victory Gardens, Elephant Theatre, Hangar, among others. Winner of the 2016 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Julie Harris Award, Capital Stage Playwrights’ Revolution, and a runner up in contests that include the Sundance Playwriting Lab, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Heideman Award and Princess Grace Fellowship. Her play STILL LIFE was named to the Kilroy List (honorable mention) and nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Published by Smith & Kraus, Applause Books, and Indie Theatre Now.

If you want to learn more about Barbara, you can do so at barbarablumenthalehrlich.com or follow her on Twitter @1BarbaraBE

 

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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