BARBARA BLATNER is a playwright, poet and composer. Her Zoom play SHE CAME IN THE DOOR was recently produced by Scribe Stages and Hong Kong’s Aurora Theatre. LIGHT went to the New Play Development Workshop at the 2020 Theatre in Higher Education Conference; TWO SISTERS will be at the 2021 Inge Play Festival and was published in Synkroniciti. YEARS OF SKY was produced by Scripts Up! at 59E59 Theatres, read at Great Plains Theatre Conference, and a monologue from the play published in Best Men’s Monologues 2019. NO STAR SHINES SHARPER, a verse play, was produced for radio by New Voices/Public Media Foundation, published by Baker’s Plays, aired repeatedly on NPR stations, and acquired by New York’s Museum of TV and Radio.
GUERNICA 2003 appeared in the American Globe Theatre’s 15-minute Play Festival,
SHADOW PLAY in the Cleveland Public Theatre’s New Plays Festival. Barbara’s adaptation of Tadeusz Borowski’s THIS WAY FOR THE GAS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN was commissioned by New Voices and staged at Boston's Public Library. THE CHOICE, a video about childbearing, was shown in the International Women’s Video Festival. POSTURES was read at Capital Repertory Company, and THE FAIR produced by the Albany Playwrights' Workshop which Barbara co-founded.
New York Quarterly Books published Barbara’s two poetry collections, THE STILL POSITION (2010) and LIVING WITH YOU (2012). Poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in Beloved on this Earth (anthology), Heliotrope, House Organ, Poetry Northwest, The New York Quarterly, Lift, Apalachee Quarterly, 13th Moon, and others.
Ms. Blatner is a full-time Senior Lecturer in Writing at Yeshiva University. She has been a fellow at Tyrone Guthrie Center, Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Banff, Ragdale, Virginia Center for the Arts, Jentel Foundation, HBMG Foundation’s National Playwrights Retreat and La Mama Umbria International Playwrights Retreat.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
I keep writing plays/doing theater only because I’m passionately in love with it. And theater is an endless human occupation so my love can’t die.
I watched a 70s series about theater’s origins in community ritual to the present. Staging story, contraries of light/dark, good/evil, female/male, death/birth, love/hate, all that grips our world, seems a necessary activity. A chronic enactment. A constant spirit. The reveal of us. The un-secret-ing of secret struggles. Time, love, death.
Shakespeare has always been the one for me. I am unabashed to say that I worship at the shrine of this working-class writer. After college where I was a music major, I audited a Shakespeare course where the professor showed us how a complete character was made in several short lines. A miracle of living lines. A parade of humanity. Complexity, transparency. Poetry not for poetry’s sake, but for the living actor who wields the line for a purpose.
In this Shakespeare class, I got it. Here was a helpless, gifted human celebrating humans. Under the sun, moon. With foolish and wise. Apologies for any grandiosity, but Shakespeare’s oceanic, breathless, miserably, exultant life onstage drove me to write plays. To try to do that thing, make whole, fictional persons appear through words and actions. Their glory, ignominy, brilliance, stupidity, etc and so forth.
I keep doing it. Trying to render something of the human. It may click in, the plug go in the wall. Or it doesn’t. Not really knowing why on any “rational” basis, I continue to climb the cliff of a difficult craft. Nothing seems as compelling, interesting or magnificent (when it all works). The moment it all works onstage a Virginia Woolf “moment of being.” Absolute present time. Almost all I live for.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
A new full-length play, JANE, QUEEN'S FOOLE, about the only documented female Fool/Jester in the English court. Very little is known of Jane, so I am inventing her. The play focuses on her relationship with the very known first English Queen, Mary 1.
Jewish, political, romance, historical, verse, musical, period, holiday, racism, sexism, ageism.