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Guest Blog: Seedlings Playwright Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich

On Sunday, August 28 at 11 am, Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich’s exciting new play STILL LIFE will take the stage as part of our Seedlings Summer Playreadings. STILL LIFE is a darkly comic look at shared grief. Three people become inextricably linked after a series of subway bombings in an unnamed city, each searching for snapshots of normal to hang onto during the surreal, suspended days following a tragedy.

We were thrilled to find this play and grab the chance to work with Barbara, a Boston-based playwright who’s been on our radar for awhile now.  Through Seedlings, we always want to find the best way to serve the writer and material. So at Barbara’s invitation (and with the support of the Dramatists Guild Fund!) we reached out to her so that we could do some exploration before she gets into town to rehearse with director Jen Bloom and our amazing actors: Barbara Tarbuck, Christopher W. Jones, Tania Verafield & Kathleen Leary.

So far, we’ve had a blast. And it sounds like Barbara has, as well:

I haven’t touched down in L.A. yet, but already my work at Seedlings on my play STILL LIFE has begun. Never mind that Theatricum Botanicum is probably the most evocative venue name on the planet. What’s been amazing so far is that once I got the call from dramaturg Jennie Webb, who runs Seedlings, we immediately started to work long distance on STILL LIFE so we could hit the ground running when I arrived. Together with director Jen Bloom, we began an immersive cycle of conference calls, emails, and rewrites that helped accelerate STILL LIFE’S development. This is the kind of creative partnership every playwright craves.

My play is a dark comedy about three lives thrown together in the wake of a terrorist bombing. And, as I believe humor is essential with even the most serious of topics, Jennie and Jen helped me find the balance between comedy and tragedy. They engaged in the world of the play, attentive to the difference between the word on the page and the word on the stage. They asked the right questions, offered cogent insights, and tracked dramatic threads. They were forensic dramaturgs, and I’m grateful beyond measure. I’m heading to Topanga Canyon with a stronger script, and I’m excited to build on the bi-coastal work we’ve done so far. Although I haven’t met Jennie or Jen in person— and even though this sounds full-on corny — I feel like when we finally meet face to face, it’ll be like greeting old friends.

The reading, held in our intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion, is FREE. We hope you’ll join us for STILL LIFE, where you’ll enjoy refreshments, meet the artists and share your thoughts and ideas to become part of the new play process at Theatricum!

For more information on Botanicum Seedlings, including our Dramaturgy Workshop beginning in September, click HERE. You can also connect with us on Facebook, and Twitter & Instagram @botseedlings.