Guest Blog: Seedlings Playwright Liz Kerin
Seedlings Summer Playreadings begin Sunday, August 20 at 11 am with Liz Kerin’s Stop-Motion. This beautiful “tragicomedy” is built around a reclusive animator who, after a decade of living in her childhood home caring for her disabled mother, is forced to look at the fractured pieces of her youth – and the risks of moving forward in life – in the aftermath of a tragic accident. It’s been great getting to know Liz through her work, so we asked her to share a bit more about how she came to this piece, and how she hopes to move forward with it.
I like to say that I came into this world as a playwright, but then filmmaking swept me off my feet like a college boyfriend who completely rocks your worldview (but also maybe really messes with you). After 6 years of living in LA and working in Film/TV, I’ve been missing the theatre like crazy. I started working on the script for “Stop-Motion” a few years ago, and I was well aware that it would be my most personal piece of work to date. I knew when the time came to do its first workshop and staged reading, I would need to be surrounded by a really nurturing creative community who could help me re-immerse in the world of theatre after such a long absence. I couldn’t be more thankful to have Jennie and the Botanicum Seedlings team on my side, and I was so excited to get the news that they’d be the ones mounting the play’s very first workshop.
“Stop-Motion” is a tragicomedy inspired by true events I’ve experienced in my own family. It deals with loss, isolation, and the different ways we perceive people with disabilities. It’s about how members of the same family who might have experienced the exact same traumatic event often have unexpected coping mechanisms that are entirely different from one another. It’s also very much a coming-of-age story about a young woman who’s unwittingly surrounded herself with people who won’t let her grow up. I love coming-of-age stories because they can happen at pretty much any life stage—they’re not just for teenagers! We’re always coming into new phases as we age. While the characters in “Stop-Motion” are definitely inspired by my own family, I’ve never been one to write in a strictly autobiographical sense. I need a good amount of distance between my personal history and my characters. What’s been so exciting about this development process is how comfortable I feel conveying my own experiences while also feeling confident that I can step back and allow these characters to be who they need to be.
Looking ahead, I’d love to see a workshop of “Stop-Motion” that incorporates all the fun multi-media elements of the production! Our main character is a stop-motion filmmaker, and throughout the play we’re meant to experience the animated film she’s been working on as she uses it to cope with the loss of her mother. It’s such an important part of the story, so the next step would definitely be to see those aspects of the production in action. I have a wishlist of animators I’d love to work with on this project, so here’s hoping we can bring them into the fold soon!
One of the great things about working with local artists through Seedlings is making connections, and and it’s been terrific connecting Liz with Dramaturg Terra Dray and Director Gloria Iseli, then seeing what happens when we add an amazing cast and crew to the team. Join us to find out for yourselves!
The reading, held in our intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion, is FREE. Enjoy refreshments, meet the artists and share your thoughts and ideas to become part of the new play process at Theatricum.
— Botanicum Seedlings (@botseedlings) August 10, 2017
Video by Kevin Hudnell